Watermen Happy for Small Win over Menhaden Regulation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Watermen Happy for Small Win over Menhaden Regulation

Posted: 11/14/2017 18:28:00 -05:00 Updated:

CAMBRIDGE, Md. - It's a small fish that's making a big splash. It's called menhaden.

In a two day meeting, the Atlantic Marine Fisheries Committee voted to keep menhaden regulations the same for commercial fishers.

With a vote to keep the status quo of how much they'll be fished, watermen say it's a win.

"Any time they dont take, it's a win. We'll take a small win instead of a big loss any time," said Burl Lewis from Hooper's Island.

Lewis says he's one of the few remaining watermen who still fish for menhaden.

Over the years, he says he's struggled to follow federal menhaden fishing regulations. He say they're regulations that really hurt.

"It hurts us in the long run because now our market is really cut back because some of the bigger holders ended up with our customers," Lewis said.

Watermen like Lewis say the decision made yesterday in Baltimore helps but they say with a less than two percent stake in how much menhaden they can fish, there really shouldn't be any regulations at all.

"Well, we're just so minute in the fishery. All we do is bait fish," said Larry Powley, a Hooper's Island watermen.

Powley, who also fishes menhaden, says conservation groups have been lying about the number of menhaden there are.

"It's just a shame," Powley said.

Powley and Lewis both say there's more than enough.

But conservationists disagree.

"The schools of menhaden haven't been making it to our Bay and they haven't been for some time," said Tom Lilly of the Friend of Wicoimco River Organization.

Lilly says overfishing is a big problem and it must be solved fast.

"The menhaden are just not there in the whole Bay," Lilly said.

Both Powley and Lewis say they'll challenge that.

"It just upsets me that they would get on there and say we're overfishing. It's a lie," Powley said.

 

 

 

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