Baystreet Staff -

Omega Protein and Fishing Partner Ocean Harvesters Successfully Test Fish Spill Response Vessel


REEDVILLE, VA / ACCESSWIRE / June 27, 2023 / Ocean Harvesters, the exclusive fishing partner of Omega Protein, is continuing its commitment to responsible stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay with the deployment of a new response team and recovery vessel to more effectively respond to rare incidents like net tears and fish spills.

As part of this effort, Ocean Harvesters, in cooperation with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), has successfully tested a skimmer vessel, which will arrive at the scene of a net tear and work to recover spilled fish from the surface that threaten shorelines. This vessel will begin operating in the Bay with this upcoming fishing season.

Omega Protein, Tuesday, June 27, 2023, Press release picture
Skimmer Vessels on the F/V Hopeful Harvest

Net tears in the menhaden fishery are rare, but will occasionally occur in the course of normal fishing operations. Omega Protein and Ocean Harvesters have always followed best-practice protocols when a fish spill has occurred in the past, working with the VMRC to identify when a spill occurs, monitoring the affected areas for any dead fish, and cleaning up any fish that may wash ashore. This new vessel will improve our ability to respond to spills by allowing our fishermen to collect fish spills at sea, minimizing further the likelihood that spilled fish will make it to shore.

Omega Protein, Tuesday, June 27, 2023, Press release picture
Ocean Harvesters personnel testing the new skimmer vessel

The response vessel operates similarly to menhaden fishing vessels. A main boat, the Hopeful Harvest, will be deployed to the site of a fish spill. At the scene, it will launch two smaller skimmer boats, which are capable of recovering floating fish from the surface and transferring them onto the Hopeful Harvest for disposal. The vessel itself will be operated by Ocean Harvesters and will work closely with their menhaden fishing operations.

Omega Protein, Tuesday, June 27, 2023, Press release picture
F/V Hopeful Harvest

"We've always been proactive in addressing fish spills, but this represents a big step forward in our ability to deal with potential spills," said Monty Deihl, CEO of Ocean Harvesters. "We always strive to be good stewards of the Bay, and this is just the latest step in our long-term efforts to collaborate with state officials and local communities to improve our operations."

About Omega Protein
Omega Protein Corporation is a century old nutritional product company that develops, produces, and delivers healthy products derived from menhaden, a fish found abundantly off the U.S. Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Omega Protein Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary and division of Cooke Inc., a family-owned company based in New Brunswick, Canada.

Through its subsidiaries, Omega Protein owns three menhaden manufacturing facilities in the United States. Omega Protein also has a long-term supply contract with Ocean Harvesters, which owns 30 fishing vessels which harvest menhaden. All fishing vessels owned and operated by Ocean Harvesters, an independent company, were formerly owned by Omega Protein. Any references to commercial fishing of menhaden relate to Ocean Harvesters, not Omega Protein or Cooke Inc.

Ben Landry
[email protected]

SOURCE: Omega Protein

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