Monday, July 31, 2006

A Small Step for the Bay

Some relatively good news for the Chesapeake today, the Capital reports that Maryland and Virginia have come to an agreement to limit the annual harvest of menhaden from the Bay. Of course, in this instance, it isn't the Maryland fishery that's the problem, it's the ravenous Omega Proteins plant based in Reedville, Virginia that is taking the small, oily fish at an unsustainable rate.

The new agreement caps the annual take at 109,000 tons a year (down from the 189,500 ton average annual landings during the 1990s). A coalition called Menhaden Matter was working to halt the fishery, while the state of the menhaden fishery could be studied. If ever there was a tragedy of the commons, surely this is it: A giant corporate behemoth, based in Texas, operating out of Virginia, raids our collective resource, and privatizes the profits 1,500 miles away, while a cascade of bay-area fisheries collapse.

Along these same lines, I hope each of you will take the time to read this bone-chilling series from the Baltimore Sun/LA Times on the decline of our oceans.

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