The striped bass has been named the Official Virginia State Fish.
The General Assembly made it so this week.
But our wise lawmakers almost screwed this one up.
After passing in the Senate, the bill to make the rockfish our state fish went to the House. There, one of our wisdom-filled Delegates decided that he would try and change the bill to give the honor to the menhaden.
Think this guy has ever been paid a visit by an Omega Protein lobbyist?
His argument was that menhaden bring a lot of money into the state. Like striped bass don't? This guy better check his math. The money that recreational fishermen spend in Virginia each year far outweighs what Omega Protein puts into the economy. It's not even close. Add what commercial fishermen toss in and it's a no-brainer.
Even so, this guy wanted the oily filter feeder that Omega takes out of the Bay and coastal waters in alarming numbers to be our fabulous state fish.
His attempt was voted down, but only by one vote - 49-48. Really? Hey General Assembly people, are you serious?
Anyway, with his effort shot down, the fine folks on the hill voted 80-16 to give the striper his just due.
More applause, please. Now, for God's sake, somebody go talk to the 48 legislators who thought menhaden was a better choice.
Now, with its new given title, maybe the effort finally can be made to give rockfish the title they really deserve - one that will better protect this money-making fish for the future.