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Reedville, VA

Reedville, Virginia is an unincorporated town located in Northumberland County, in the Northern Neck region of Virginia. The town is named after Elijah Reed who moved his menhaden processing plant from Brooklin, Maine to the Chesapeake Bay in 1874. A portion of Main Street in Reedville’s Historic District is called “Millionaire’s Row” after the large Victorian-era mansions built there by wealthy fishermen.

Celebrating Fishing

The Reedville Fishermen′s Museum, built on the banks of Cockrells Creek on land originally owned by Elijah Reed, is dedicated to the importance of the fishing industry to Reedville. The museum’s exhibits consist of a fleet of fishing vessels, as well as temporary and permanent exhibits on the area′s fishing industry. The museum also has a boat building workshop where visitors can witness or participate in traditional fishing boat building techniques.

Each summer the Reedville Fishing Derby is held to raise money for Smith Point Sea Rescue, with prizes for the largest bluefish and rockfish. A number of other fishing tournaments are held throughout the area as well. The first Sunday of every May, St. Mary’s Church and Omega Processing jointly host a Blessing of the Fleet for both commercial and recreational vessels, and the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum holds an annual oyster roast.

Recreational Fisheries

Many businesses and interest groups support the thriving recreational fishing operations in the area. There are more than 50 charter fishing boats operating out of the Reedville area, targeting primarily bluefish and rockfish. Fifteen of these boats are listed as members of the Virginia Charter Boat Association. The Northern Neck Anglers Club sponsors eight different fishing tournaments throughout the year around the Northern Neck area of Virginia. The Virginia chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, an organization primarily representing the interests of recreational fishermen, has been heavily involved in the push to restrict catches of menhaden, citing the importance of the species as prey for a number of commercially and recreationally important species.

Commercial Fisheries

Reedville is home of the fishing industry for Atlantic menhaden and is the second largest fishing port by weight of catch in the United States. Omega Protein remains the largest industrial organization in the area. The company, with several hundred employees, has a fleet of large fish-harvesting vessels supported by a number of spotter aircraft. The Reedville facility processes 25 percent of the menhaden used by Omega Protein, while the rest of the catch supplies processing facilities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia.

Top species harvested in port: menhaden, bluefish, striped bass.