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VA Asks Moratorium on Menhaden Harvesting by Fish Oil Co.

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Omega Protein

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's governor is urging the Trump administration to stop a company that makes fish-oil supplements from fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

Gov. Ralph Northam has asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to place a moratorium on the catching of menhaden in the bay.

Northam's letter, dated Wednesday, says the moratorium will protect a fish that's vital to the bay's food chain and serves as food for striped bass, dolphins and birds.

The firm, Omega Protein, harvests menhaden to make fish-oil supplements and other products. The firm defied catch limits in the bay set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The commission is also asking Ross to intervene.

Omega Protein has said that menhaden aren't being overfished and that the commission's harvest cap lacks scientific justification.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.