The time has come for the subject of a spring rockfish season to surface again.
The Striped Bass Advisory Board will conduct a very important meeting at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, in the basement conference room.
The primary purpose will be to finalize recommendations for a spring season.
Let me warn you if you plan to attend, these are not the most exciting sessions in town. The agenda goes something like this:
* The group will discuss any changes to the agenda.
* DNR report on the monitoring, enforcement and preliminary catch figures for the commercial fishing season for 1990-1991.
* Staff presentation and recommendation concerning a proposed spring 1991 stripedbass fishing season. Nothing has been leaked, but I anticipate a DNROK on a modest spring season.
* Discussion and resolution of recommendations for a spring 1991 striped bass fishing season. Anticipated discussions/arguments will follow previous political
lines. Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association recommending against a spring season, charter captains for a spring season, commercial fishermen for a spring season even though they do not plan to participate. Unknown will be tackle shop representative and rep from Sport Fishing Advisory Commission.
* Discussion and recommendation regarding the proposal by William Huppert to restrict the use of eels as bait. Bill Burton had an excellent article on this topic in Thursday's Evening Sun.
His opening statement in the "Commentary" section summed it up,"If a quota is established for the catch of rockfish in any recreational or charter boat season, it matters not how they are caught -- ifthe catching is legal, sporting and does not exceed the quota. So why all the lobbying to ban the use of live eels during future seasons?"
* The board discusses correspondence received since the last SBAB meeting.
* Finally you get a chance to put in your two cents ifyou remember what it is you wanted to say about whatever they were discussing. I suggest you take a notebook and make notes as they go along, because it is easy to become as confused as some of the folks sitting at the table.
* New business, which probably won't be much.
* Discussions about the next meeting. This goes pretty fast because everyone wants to go home by this time.
An ideal meeting would be over about 8 p.m., but I've fidgeted through some that went to 10 p.m. or later.
The meetings often are frustrating, but you must recognize that the board members represent different user groups that have differing opinions, and they fight hard for their share of the common resource. You may not agree with them, but you have to consider their opinion and often compromise to get part of what you want.
MSSA has clarified its position regarding the charter boat striped bass allocation if commercial striped bass fishing is banned.
In a previously issued MSSA document they announced that the charter boat allocation would
be 15 percent of the total harvest, the remaining 85 percent would be for the MSSA or recreational fishermen.
In the January Tidelines, the MSSA newsletter, MSSA indicates there will be no striped bass allocation for the charter boats industry if the MSSA Rockfish/Gamefish Bill passes. MSSA says all fishermen are to be treated equally.
It is interesting to note that
New York and New Jersey charter boat skippers are lobbying for an allocation of the dwindlingsummer flounder fishery. The probable three flounder coastal creel limit will put them out of business, and they know it.
Bob Spore isa Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in the Anne Arundel CountySun.