Fishermen, members from Omega Protein outside the Annapolis capitol building

Fishermen, Local 400 members from Omega Protein, gather outside the Annapolis capitol building after the hearing earlier this month. Photo by Bill Burke. 

Last month there was a hearing in Annapolis, Md. on House bill 1142 that was filed by Dels. Peter Murphy and David Rudolph and backed by recreational fisherman from the area. The bill would close Maryland’s marketplace to all Omega 3 products that contain fish old from menhaden.

This is not the first bill of its kind, there have been six other major bills proposed in the Richmond area that would have affected the jobs at Omega Protein, none of them were passed.

The Omega Protein fleet, based in Virginia’s Northern Neck, get menhaden’s by using spotter planes, the ships deploy giant purse-like nets to capture schools of menhaden. The fish are unloaded in Reedville, Va., where they are reduced to their useful parts.

For years, Omega Protein has not been able to fish in the Chesapeake Bay or any other waters in Maryland. But the supporters of this bill feel that too many menhaden’s are being taken from the waters in Virginia. This prevents the large schools of menhaden from reaching the waters of Maryland, where they become food to larger fish, like rockfish, a prime catch for recreational fisherman in Maryland waters.

The bill did not pass thanks to the hard work of the membership from Omega Protein  and the Maryland House Environmental Matters Committee who educate those on the importance of hard labor jobs, like those of the Omega Protein fisherman. (pictured at the Annapolis capitol building)