This Saturday's shutdown of the Maryland charter fishery for rockfish, which was announced yesterday, should ease rising tensions between charterboat skippers and recreational fishermen who had their season closed last Sunday by the Department of Natural Resources.
Meanwhile, fisheries managers in the District of Columbia announced its season will continue until its scheduled end Nov. 16, with a limit of two a day. "We don't have the same problem [overcatching] here as they do in Maryland," spokeswoman Bonnie Rampersaud said late yesterday.
Not only does the charterboat fishery close Saturday at 8 p.m., charters will be restricted to one rock a day Friday and Saturday. They opened the season with a creel of five, which was reduced to two last Sunday.
Charterboaters are fast approaching their quota of 112,500 pounds, tidewater fisheries chief Pete Jensen said last evening after reviewing catch record reports.
Many recreational fishermen were irate last Thursday when it was announced their season would end over the weekend, but charterboaters could continue fishing. There were incidents reported in which private boaters intentionally crossed the lines of chartercraft, and shouted obscenities at their skippers.
Some recreational fishermen announced intentions of stepping up their harassment activities, but the latest turn of events should cool things down.
Tonight at 6:30, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission will close down sports fishing for both charterboats and recreational fishermen. Earlier it had shut down the commercial hook and line fishery when the catch grew to three times more than the quota of less than 15,000 pounds.
The continued Washington fishery promises to be at least a mini-controversy. Sports fishermen complain that snagging rockfish is widespread there.
The Virginia sportsfishing season for rock is scheduled to run from Nov. 5 through Dec. 5. Meanwhile, the only fishing for rock will be along the Atlantic Coast -- where the legal minimum is 28 inches with no maximum fresh waters -- and in fresh waters for both hybrid rock and landlocked stripers at such places as Liberty, Piney Run, Loch Raven and Conowingo reservoirs.