Only about half the study group attended. Labor and watermen’s groups did not attend, nor did the NAACP. Many of Omega’s fishermen are African-American.

Much of the science discussed Thursday played down the value of menhaden as a filter fish for the bay and concerns that Omega boats scoop up forage fish key to valued game fish such as stripers and blue fish.

"If there’s one certainty about menhaden science it’s that both sides cherry-pick their data," said Jack Travelstead, deputy commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resource Commission.

He estimated the cost of monitoring menhaden would be $500,000 annually.

Menhaden fish panel meets in Va. for 1st time – BusinessWeek

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