Letters to the Editor

There’s more to the Omega story

Omega Protein boats use a large net to catch a school of menhaden in the Mississippi Sound.
Omega Protein boats use a large net to catch a school of menhaden in the Mississippi Sound. Sun Herald File

Thank you for the informative headliner on Omega (“Why Omega Protein has stirred up a big stink about small fish,” Aug. 14, 1A).

Some comments:

1. It is more than “if there are enough menhaden,” it is about 10 million pounds of bycatch being ground up for chicken food.

2. Omega provides the science to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and the public on the menhaden reduction industry.

3. The World Wildlife Fund pulled out of Marine Stewardship Council.

4. Thirty percent of MSC’s certified fisheries are overfished or in depletion, according to Greenpeace and others.

5. The catch is over 200 million pounds in Mississippi and bycatch is 5 percent.

6. NOAA issues them a permit to kill dolphin as bycatch and estimate 84 a year are killed or seriously injured.

7. When Ben Landry, director of public affairs for Omega, mentioned problems and deaths, he failed to mention five wrongful-death claims in a company of 300 in five years.

We also failed to address the numerous Clean Water Act violations the company has had at its other locations. The U.S. Justice Department has the board of directors on probation for repeatedly polluting. This is the second consecutive probation over the last four years. Omega is allowed to police themselves in Mississippi. They also have class-action lawsuits presently ongoing.

Garth Walker

Ocean Springs

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