Network Thanks Gov. Northam for Bold Step to Improve Menhaden Management

CONTACT: Jo Knight,

Arlington, VA – Governor Ralph Northam today signed a bill to transfer state management of menhaden from the Virginia General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, a move that will improve management of menhaden and prevent a federal moratorium of the fishery taking place on June 17, 2020. Robert C. Vandermark, executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, released the following statement.

“Menhaden should be managed by experts who have the resources and experience to ensure populations remain healthy for the long term. Today, Governor Northam and Virginia lawmakers put management of the most important fishery in the Chesapeake Bay into the right hands. By shifting menhaden management from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia is better equipped to comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s menhaden management plan and set catch limits that account for the needs of our region’s most iconic fish and birds, such as striped bass, summer flounder, bluefish, ospreys, and bald eagles.

“The Marine Fish Conservation Network joins many others in thanking Governor Northam and the legislation’s sponsors and supporters for their leadership in ensuring more responsible management of these economically and ecologically valuable fish. Virginia has taken a significant step to make sure menhaden management is based on science, not politics, so that menhaden can support the region’s ecosystems and industries for generations to come.”


The Marine Fish Conservation Network is a coalition of commercial and recreational fishing associations, regional and national conservation groups, aquaria, and marine science organizations committed to sustaining fish populations, healthy marine ecosystems, and robust fishing communities.