A Big Fight for a Small Fish

Feature story - August 10, 2005
Just as giant factory fishing nets were about to scoop up tens of thousands of fish from the Chesapeake Bay, our activists sped onto the scene in inflatables to rescue the small fish from a tragic fate.

Greenpeace activists prevent industrial fishing giant Omega from reaching a large school of menhaden.

Omega Protein has been fishing for trouble in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and on August 10, they found it. We're causing a lot of trouble to save a little fish called menhaden.

Factory fishing giant Omega has been vacuuming up massive quantities of this tiny fish, and it has had a devastating impact on ecosystems up and down the East Coast. That's because the menhaden is a critical part of the food chain that stretches all the way up to the majestic whale.

But this important little fish is disappearing, and there are no regulations limiting the number of these fish Omega can vacuum from the Chesapeake Bay. That's why we've decided to take matters into our own hands.  We're calling for a moratorium on industrial fishing - and we're setting our own limits - by herding the fish away from Omega's factory ships.

We sent a clear message to Omega, but in case they still don't understand what we want, we sent them a letter directly too.

Update!  Big News for a Small Fish

For the first time ever, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has decided to limit factory fishing for the menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.

On August 17, the commission met to decide the fate of the menhaden.  Things began with a rocky start as Jack Travelstead - chairman of the commission - announced that there would be no public comments allowed despite allotted time on the agenda, but permitted Omega to speak at length with the commission.  He added that any discussion of a moratorium would be ruled "out of order."  Silly us - we thought chairmen were suppose to be impartial.

Omega then proposed a voluntary cap on itself to the commission.  However, the 131,000 metric ton "limit" is actually 30 percent MORE than what Omega currently catches.  Fortunately, that proposal failed and the catch limit was set at 105,000 metric tons.

The commission's decision was clearly influenced by the outpouring of public support.  Nearly 16,000 activists wrote the commission calling for an end to Omega's destructive practices, and our two protests on the Chesapeake Bay highlighted the importance of this issue.

This cap is a step in the right direction, but the fight is far from over.  We're not letting Omega off the hook that easily. 

Take Action!

Tell Omega you're not buying into its rotten practices.