by Jackie Nunnery
LANCASTER—After some heated discussion, Lancaster supervisors on January 30 adopted a resolution supporting Omega Protein by a 3-2 vote.
Jason Bellows, Ernest Palin and William Lee voted in favor of the motion, Dr. Robert Westbrook and Jack Larson voted against.
County administrator Don Gill said the resolution was drafted in support of Omega because of “potential legislation in this session of the General Assembly that may adversely affect them.” He noted Northumberland and Westmoreland counties have adopted similar resolutions. The issue is on the supervisors February agenda in Richmond County.
The resolution states: “Omega Protein has been unjustly criticized for over-harvesting menhaden for many years with very little scientific evidence.” It goes on to note a 41% reduction in Omega’s allowable catch while “simultaneously increasing the catch for Maryland and Potomac River Fisheries Commission fishermen inside the Chesapeake Bay;” the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voting Virginia out of compliance with “no scientific data to support their conclusions;” and a letter drafted by Gov. Ralph Northam that “places a moratorium on Omega Protein’s fishing operations.”
The resolution further states the county “does not support any additional legislation controlling the menhaden industry and…