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Regulators vote for 20 percent menhaden catch cut

Fisheries regulators have voted for a 20 percent cut in the catch of menhaden, an oily fish prized for use in dietary supplements, cosmetics and animal feed.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted Friday on the limit. The commission still has not voted on how to allocate the remaining catch between those who harvest menhaden for bait and those who catch them for use in products such as animal feed.

Environmentalists and recreational fishermen lobbied for the cuts. They say menhaden are a key food for fish such as striped bass and the filter feeders improve water quality. But the cut affects an Omega Protein plant in Reedville, Va., that lands about 80 percent of the catch and employs about 300. The company had supported a 10 percent cut.

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