Lawsuit says Virginia menhaden regulators unlawfully increased catch limit
A Chesapeake Bay-focused legal team filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Virginia Marine Resources Commission saying the state agency failed to properly manage the menhaden population in state waters by increasing the fishery catch limit.
The Chesapeake Legal Alliance, based in Annapolis, filed the lawsuit in Richmond City Circuit Court on behalf of the Southern Maryland Recreational Fishing Organization, a group of 128 members who fish in tidal waters and portions of the Chesapeake Bay in both Maryland and Virginia.
“This is to get the VMRC to apply the law and to protect Virginia waters inside and outside of the Bay,” said David Reed, executive director of the alliance.
The lawsuit argues that the Virginia Marine Resources Commission erred in two ways. First, it says the body “rubber stamped” an increase to the menhaden catch quota handed down by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which sets catch limits along the East Coast. Second, it contends the VMRC unlawfully approved the increase outside the time period state law allows for regulatory changes.
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