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.
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"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.