Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Marine Resources Commission
Marine Resources Commission
[4 VAC 20 ‑ ]
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8/20/23  1:27 pm
Commenter: James Ross Kellum, Kellum Maritime, LLC

Do not support regulatory changes to purse net fishing

The Chesapeake Bay has about 4,479 square miles of area. The Virginia portion of the Bay that the Menhaden purse seine industry is currently allowed to fish in is less than 35% of this total area. For comparison sake this area equates to about 43,703,573,760 square feet of area. A single purse net designed to catch Menhaden does not exceed about 80,000 square feet of total area. The way these purse nets are designed the bottom line of the net is drawn through the use of rings and a “purse line,” as this occurs the total area that the bottom of the net occupies further lessens, dramatically. This function of drawing the bottom of the net generally takes place well before any portion of the net has time to settle to the sea floor. Therefore, the effectual area of the purse nets potential to impact the sea floor is extremely small. Proportionally speaking, a single purse net can affect at a maximum,  less than three thousandths (0.00287) of the total area in which we are legally allowed to fish. This estimate is in a worst case type evaluation, whereas the actual effect of any portion of the net on the sea floor would be magnitudes smaller. Coupled with the fact that there are only 8 vessels capable of deploying a purse net in Virginia, it is a ridiculous proposition to suggest that the Menhaden industry could possibly be having a negative impact of the sea floor of the Bay. 

CommentID: 219443