Bloxom released the following statement from the meeting called by Senator Lynwood Lewis to address the issue with Northampton County Board Chair Betsy Mapp and Administrator Charlie Kolakowski, as well as VMRC Commissioner Jamie Green and Virginia’s acting Secretary of Natural Resources Travis A. Voyles.
“The problem with menhaden washing up on the Eastern Shore beaches has not gone unnoticed by me. As a local Eastern Shoreman who enjoys our beaches and as your representative I, along with Senator Lewis, called a meeting to discuss this problem…. It was a very productive meeting and I am confident that the Commissioner will convey the group’s concerns along with our suggestions to alleviate the issue. I plan to include an amendment in the next budget so the Virginia Institute of Marine Science can conduct a study to better understand if localized depletion of the bay is occurring due to the reduction fishery industry.
“I look forward to the solutions that VMRC proposes; however if their solution is not satisfactory I stand ready to take this issue back to Richmond. As always, I appreciate the feedback from my constituents and I will keep you updated as we work towards solutions.”
The menhaden fishery was the last of all fisheries to be managed and reviewed annually by the Virginia General Assembly. After several years of pushing to move oversight from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission by then Senator Ralph Northam, Governor Northam signed the bill sponsored by Senator Lynwood Lewis which transferred oversight in 2020.