ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 6, 2010) – Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley today issued the following Statement upon learning of yesterday’s action by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to review regulations and develop new strategies to protect menhaden:
“Menhaden is a vital species that provides food for striped bass and other fish and filters pollutants from the Chesapeake Bay. I applaud the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission unanimous action in recognizing the troubling signs of the population’s decline and calling for the development of new management strategies to protect this important fish. Here in Maryland it is our hope that the next step will be a significant reduction in coast-wide harvest.
“I want to congratulate the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Staff, who led this coastal effort to protect menhaden and who continue to deliver exceptional results through innovative strategies to protect our aquatic resources. I also want to recognize the hard work of our recreational fishermen and environmental organization in working with us to achieve this breakthrough.
“Today we celebrate the highest blue crab population since 1997 and a bold new plan to restore our native oyster and develop an aquaculture industry in Maryland. Protection of menhaden will ultimately add to these successes and bring us closer to our ultimate goal: a restored Chesapeake Bay and healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish for today and tomorrow.”