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The right conservation considers fish and jobs page 2
Monty Deihl's op-ed on menhaden fishing.

Date published: 1/17/2013


Moore accuses me of threatening "devastating job losses to argue against meaningful catch reductions." The reality is that while we know cuts of 20 percent to 50 percent will result in job loss, no one knows if reductions in catch will increase menhaden biomass. Here is what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Chesapeake Bay Office says: "Menhaden recruitment appears to be independent of fishing mortality and spawning stock biomass, indicating environmental factors may be the defining factor in the production of good year classes. If menhaden recruitment is largely environmentally driven, adoption of the new reference points may not result in better recruitment. However, there is a possibility that the stock may be able to take greater advantage of favorable environmental conditions if a larger percentage of spawning adults remain in the population."

So at best, cuts in the menhaden harvest might increase the population if the right environmental conditions coincide with fishing reduction. If the regulators want to try this to see if it works, we have just one request. We simply ask for cuts that do not kill jobs. We are joined in this request by both the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400. The industry, the union, and the NAACP are not opposed to conservation. We do not suggest that because there is scientific uncertainty there should be no action. We argue that any measure taken be carefully crafted to preserve both the resource and the jobs that depend on it.

Monty Deihl is director of fishing operations at Omega Protein.

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