Public Can Remark On Rockfish Rules


Preservation Group Stakes, Hurts, Credibility On Opposition To Harvest

June 28, 1991|By Capt.Bob Spore

The public will get the opportunity to comment on the Striped Bass Advisory Board's proposed regulations for the fall striped bass fishery from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday.

The meeting will take place in the ground-floor conference room of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry Truman Parkway, Annapolis.

This year's proposal would allow an increase in the striped bass quota from 750,000 pounds to 1,074,000 total allowable catch. The proposal would establish 1991-1992 seasons and require recreational permits and tags and catch limits.

The proposed regulations also wouldprohibit night fishing and striped bass tournaments and would require that each striped bass be landed whole.

Minimum and maximum sizes (18 and 36 inches), monitoring and reporting requirements will remain the same as last year's.

Major features of the 1991- 1992 striped bass fishery are:


* Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries -- 456,747-pound quota; season, Oct. 9-26; two striped bass per person per season, permits and tags required; if the quota is not taken during the first season, a second season is proposed to open after Oct. 26. The limit for the second season would be two fish per person per day until the quota is reached. No tags would be required for the second season.

* Atlantic Ocean -- no quota; season, Oct. 9-26; limit, one striped bass per person per day; no tags required.


* Chesapeake Bay and tributaries -- 161,206-pound quota; season, Oct. 9-26; limit, one striped bass per person per day.


* Chesapeake Bay and tributaries -- 456,747-pound quota; season, pound nets and haul lines,Sept. 2-30, hook and line, Dec. 2-31,gill net, Jan. 2-Feb. 28, 1992; no commercial harvest on weekends.

* Atlantic Ocean -- 25,000-pound quota; season, gill net and trawlsDec. 2-31.

This is your opportunity to express your views on whatthe board has been doing.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is no stranger to confrontation. It has been battling big business and big agencies since its inception. Its area of expertise is habitat and environment.

I have seen the foundation venture into the fisheries management arena, and its members got their noses bloodied as a result.

The first time was when the CBF opposed opening the striped bass fishery, and more recently,when it opposed opening the spring trophy season.

It happened again when the foundation proposed a three-year moratorium for oysters. In all instances, it found little or no support, not even from the Department of Natural Resources.

It takes more than a degree or two to win in the fisheries management game. It'snot a gentlemen's game because people's livelihoods partially dependupon it.

When you go after someone's wallet, be prepared to get knocked around. You need to be tough, and you need to know what you are talking about.

Neither the Department of Natural Resources, the Striped Bass White Paper Committee nor the Striped Bass Advisory Board supported the foundation's rockfish views. The CBF was beaten soundly.

The foundation also is taking a beating on its oyster proposal. The watermen of the Chesapeake don't have much left. The oyster program has limped along for the past few years because of state and federal money. When they pump $4 million a year in and get $6 million or$7 million out -- that's not a bad return.

Last year, the output was closer to $10 million, as the oyster program began to show signs of life.

Each time the CBF jumps into the fisheries management game, I feel it loses a little bit more credibility.

The foundation should continue to push for cleaning up the environment -- which has been its strength -- and stay away from the fish, which have just gotten it in trouble.

Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boatcaptain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.

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