75,000 Dead Fish Wash Up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore


Tens of thousands of dead fish washed up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore after a net owned by a commercial fishing company tore.

Omega Protein, a large commercial fishing operation out of Houston that specializes in harvesting menhaden, said the incident happened Oct. 7 when one of its nets aboard a boat snagged as a crew was pumping in a load of several thousand of the fish.

By the weekend, the company said the fish started to wash up on an area known as Smith Beach. The area is near the Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve in Northampton County.

On Tuesday, officials with Omega Protein said they estimated that some 75,000 fish had washed on the shoreline. They had hired a cleanup crew to collect and dispose of the fish.

An official with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission said the company reported the incident when it happened.

Omega Protein catches about 400 million menhaden a year in the Atlantic, mainly between New Jersey and North Carolina. Menhaden are not used directly for food but rather for processing fish oil and other products, including for animal feed and dietary supplements.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Dana Hedgpeth