RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia legislators are recommending passage of legislation that would cut the catch of a key commercial fishery in Virginia.
Senate and House committee members endorsed companion bills Thursday to reduce the catch of menhaden by 20 percent. The oily fish is used in dietary supplements, animal feed and for other purposes and a commercial fishery in Reedville.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted last month in Baltimore to reduce the commercial catch of the pudgy fish. The reduction will be in place for two years while a stock assessment is conducted.
Environmentalists and recreational fishermen have long lobbied for the cuts. They say schools of menhaden are a key food for such prized fish such as striped bass, and the filter feeders improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.