full speed ahead

by John Hocevar

August 14, 2005

It’s been quite a week! Even after receiving around 20,000 comments from fishermen and environmentalists calling for a moratorium on factory fishing for menhaden and hundreds more who spoke out at public hearings, it still wasn’t looking like the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was ready to start protecting Atlantic ecosystems. Much of the problem lies with Houston-based Omega Protein, which has bullied the Commission into sitting on their hands while things go down the tubes.

As you can guess, Greenpeace wasn’t quite ready to give up that easily. Rather than tell you myself, I’ll let a few reporters give you the story:

Associated Press, 8/9

“Greenpeace activists dispatched inflatable boats Tuesday in the lower

Chesapeake Bay to thwart the fishing operations of a Texas company that

harvests hundreds of millions of pounds of menhaden every year.

…’The fish do not belong to Omega,’ [Greenpeace spokesperson Nancy] Hwa

said.”

Richmond Times Dispatch, 8/14

“Virginia’s biggest commercial fishing business said it has voluntarily set its own limits on the amount of menhaden it will catch from the Chesapeake Bay for the next five years. Omega Protein Co. adopted the cap Thursday just days before a coastal menhaden management board will meet to consider imposing its own restriction on the number of the fish the company can take.

The question of a cap and the impact on the bay of Omega’s multimetric-ton

harvests rest at the core of a debate over menhaden fishing that has escalated into offshore onfrontations between Omega fishermen and protesters. Greenpeace activists used high-speed outboard boats Tuesday to

chase menhaden schools away from Omega’s fishing nets, the U.S. Coast Guard said.”

Baltimore Sun, 8/15

“No offense to the gentle folks who have been fighting the good fight for years, but Greenpeace knows how to wage a robust, bare-knuckles public war against a bully.”

Keep your fingers crossed for us on Wednesday – this is going to be a tough one. The Commission will probably do SOMETHING, but it’s too early to guess how meaningful their action will be.

Thanks again to everyone who helped us get this far! Stay tuned for more ways you can help in the next couple days.

John H

John Hocevar

By John Hocevar

An accomplished campaigner, explorer, and marine biologist, John has helped win several major victories for marine conservation since becoming the director of Greenpeace's oceans campaign in 2004.

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