Virginia avoids ban on catching fish used to make fish oil

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The state of Virginia will avoid a federal fishing moratorium on a species of fish that’s used to make fish-oil pills and other products that are rich with omega-3 fatty acids.

Such a ban would have impacted the company Omega Protein. It employs more than 200 fishermen and factory workers on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

The moratorium will be avoided because the Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted Tuesday to incorporate catch limits in the bay for a fish called Atlantic menhaden.

The harvest cap was originally set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. But Omega Protein had exceeded the limit last year by 30 percent.

The U.S. Commerce Department had threatened issue a moratorium unless Virginia lawmakers brought the state into compliance with the interstate commission’s harvest cap.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission said in statement that its vote allows the state to avoid a “disastrous industry shutdown.”

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