Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Marine Resources Commission
Marine Resources Commission
[4 VAC 20 ‑ ]
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8/21/23  11:07 pm
Commenter: Ty Hibbs

Menhaden Reform


I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to express my deep concern about the current practices in the menhaden fishery and to implore the Virginia Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to take immediate action to reform these practices. The sustainability of our marine ecosystem and the livelihoods of countless fishermen are at stake.

The purse seine nets used in the menhaden fishery are not being used as intended. This is leading to detrimental consequences for our marine environment. Specifically, I would like to draw your attention to the following points:

1. **Improper Use of Purse Seine Nets:** The current use of purse seine nets is resulting in unintended consequences. These nets are not being employed in a manner that allows non-targeted marine life to escape, leading to an alarming bycatch issue. We must acknowledge the importance of maintaining a balanced ecosystem and ensuring the preservation of non-targeted species.

2. **Depth-Related Concerns:** Fishing in water depths less than 60 feet prevents non-targeted marine life from escaping, exacerbating the bycatch problem. Additionally, the use of purse seine nets in shallower waters can cause significant damage to essential fish habitat. It is imperative that we take measures to protect these habitats and ensure their longevity.

3. **Preserving Essential Fish Habitat:** The use of purse seine nets in shallower waters poses a serious threat to essential fish habitat. Damage to these habitats could have far-reaching consequences for the entire marine ecosystem, affecting both targeted and non-targeted species alike.

4. **Depth Restrictions for Sustainable Fishing:** Implementing depth restrictions in the menhaden fishery is a crucial step toward preventing net spills, net tears, and unnecessary wastage of this vital resource. Such restrictions will not only help preserve marine ecosystems but will also benefit all stakeholders involved in the industry.

I urge the Virginia Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to initiate immediate reforms in the menhaden fishery. By setting appropriate depth restrictions and promoting responsible fishing practices, we can work together to ensure the long-term sustainability of our marine environment and the prosperity of our fishing industry.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter. I believe that by taking proactive steps now, we can make a significant positive impact on the future of our marine ecosystem and the livelihoods that depend on it.

Ty Hibbs


CommentID: 219698