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Menhaden harvest bill dies in Virginia House

Frozen and salted menhaden sit in a barrel Thursday at a lobster bait warehouse in Portland. Regulators are considering altering the way they manage menhaden to better account for its role in the environment, with a key vote planned in November. Associated Press/Robert F. Bukaty

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A bill intended to bring Virginia into compliance with an interstate body’s decision regarding Atlantic menhaden catch limits has died in the House of Delegates.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Del. Barry Knight made a motion Tuesday to send his bill back to committee, effectively killing it for the year.

The bill would have committed the state to pursuing an appeal of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s decision to adopt new catch limits.

Knight told the newspaper he hoped Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration and Omega Protein, which operates Virginia’s only menhaden processing plant and takes more than 70 percent of the entire East Coast harvest, would continue negotiations on catch quotas.

Northam’s administration has warned that not passing the bill could risk a federal closure of the menhaden fishery.

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