Menhaden Limits?

The menhaden processing company Omega Protein has asked Jackson County supervisors to support its fight against limiting the industry. Supervisors in Harrison and Hancock counties are asking the state Commission on Marine Resources to restrict menhaden fishing to two miles or farther from shore and the barrier islands.

Some sport fishermen fear that the industry is catching too many of the tiny, oily fish on which sport fish feed. Omega Protein general manager, Rick Schillaci, told Jackson County supervisors that placing restrictions on fishing could cost his company one million of its 15 million dollar annual budget. Omega Protein employs 189.

Jackson County supervisors promised Schillaci they would vote on the issue before September 24th, when the C-M-R will take it up. The supervisors asked to see scientific data that shows menhaden fishing doesn't cause ecological damage.