Jackson County

'Nobody wants a menhaden' mayor tells supervisors

KAREN NELSON/SUN HERALD 
 Moss Point Mayor Billy Broomfield waits to go before the Jackson County Board of Supervisors on Monday to tell them to leave his city's menhaden industry alone. The county had asked the state to restrict menhaden fishing to one mile off the Jackson County coast to help with by-catch and the population of menhaden. Broomfield asked to board to back off that restriction. It will hurt the industry that pumps $40 million into Moss Point's economy, and besides, "nobody wants a menhaden anyway."
KAREN NELSON/SUN HERALD Moss Point Mayor Billy Broomfield waits to go before the Jackson County Board of Supervisors on Monday to tell them to leave his city's menhaden industry alone. The county had asked the state to restrict menhaden fishing to one mile off the Jackson County coast to help with by-catch and the population of menhaden. Broomfield asked to board to back off that restriction. It will hurt the industry that pumps $40 million into Moss Point's economy, and besides, "nobody wants a menhaden anyway."

PASCAGOULA -- Moss Point Mayor Billy Broomfield defended his city's major industry, Omega Protein, to Jackson County supervisors on Monday.

He said the menhaden fishery would be hard hit if the county follows through with plans to ask the state to restrict menhaden fishing in the Mississippi Sound to one mile off the Jackson County coast. Harrison and Hancock counties already do that.

The restriction is in part to stop by-catch and overfishing.

Broomfield said the Legislature looked at the issue, both houses, and found the industry is adequately regulated by the state and federal governments and doesn't need the added restriction. He said Omega Protein pumps $40 million into the economy and has a $12 million payroll.

"There's no proof that they are hurting any species other than menhaden, which nobody wants," Broomfield told the Board of Supervisors, "menhaden that nobody can use and no one in this room would go out and catch."

Menhaden is a small filter-feeder that supports a big fishing industry. Omega Protein catches them for animal feed and fatty acids in human food supplements.

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