Gov. Ralph Northam has asked for a federal freeze on catching menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.
Northam asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to place a moratorium on the catching of menhaden in the bay.
Northam’s letter, dated Wednesday, says the moratorium will protect a fish that’s vital to the bay’s food chain and serves as food for striped bass, dolphins and birds.
The firm, Omega Protein, harvests menhaden to make fish-oil supplements and other products. The firm defied catch limits in the bay set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The commission is also Ross to intervene.
Omega Protein has said that menhaden aren’t being overfished and that the commission’s harvest cap lacks scientific justification.