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NEWS
By Wayne T. Gilchrest | March 21, 2011
Few experiences compare to boating in the Chesapeake Bay at dawn, gliding among blue herons and submerged oak trees. As a nature lover and conservationist, I often take young students to the Chesapeake to teach them about ocean ecology. Lately, these nascent outdoorsmen have been noticing disturbances in the complex chain of marine life that sustains the ocean and its estuaries. An alarming 70 percent of adult striped bass sampled in the Chesapeake Bay are infected with a serious condition called mycobacteriosis, and these ailing fish are migrating from their nursery in the bay all along the Atlantic Coast.
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NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 29, 2014
A judge in Cambridge has upheld Maryland's curbs on catching menhaden, rejecting claims by a pair of watermen that the restrictions were unconstitutional. Following a day-long hearing Wednesday in Dorchester Circuit Court, Judge David Mitchell, a retired Baltimore Circuit Court jurist, ruled in favor of the state's action last year to curtail the commercial catch of the unsavory but ecologically important fish. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, whose office represented the Department of Natural Resources, hailed the ruling as a "victory for the health of the Chesapeake Bay. " Natural Resources Secretary Joseph P. Gill said the judge had confirmed his department's authority to limit the menhaden catch in keeping with a decision by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to ease fishing pressure coastwide.
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NEWS
August 11, 2011
As Candus Thomson 's days as an outdoor writer are numbered, she seems determined to take more shots (some cheaper than others) at commercial fishermen, and the menhaden industry in particular. Having worked as both a journalist and a commercial fisherman, I refuse to let her broadsides go unanswered. If you believe Ms. Thomson's recent Outdoors Girl blog entry, ("Rachel Maddow, the Atlantic infrastructure needs you," Aug. 9), a menhaden plant with 300 employees and its hired gun lobbyists are holding an entire ecosystem hostage.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | April 29, 2014
The fish kill affecting Baltimore Harbor and the Patapsco River appears to be over, according to a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment . But state biologists are still unclear why an estimated 7,000 fish turned belly up so early in the year. Biologists went back out on Tuesday to check from the mouth of the river up to Fells Point and Fort McHenry, said Jay Apperson, MDE's deputy communications director.  While biologists revised upwards their original estimate that maybe 1,000 fish had died Monday, they did not see any newly dead or dying fish, he said.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | May 29, 2014
A judge in Cambridge has upheld Maryland's curbs on catching menhaden, rejecting claims by a pair of watermen that the restrictions were unconstitutional. Following a day-long hearing Wednesday in Dorchester Circuit Court, Judge David Mitchell, a retired Baltimore Circuit Court jurist, ruled in favor of the state's action last year to curtail the commercial catch of the unsavory but ecologically important fish. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, whose office represented the Department of Natural Resources, hailed the ruling as a "victory for the health of the Chesapeake Bay. " Natural Resources Secretary Joseph P. Gill said the judge had confirmed his department's authority to limit the menhaden catch in keeping with a decision by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to ease fishing pressure coastwide.
NEWS
By Beau Beasley | January 8, 2013
At a historic meeting in Baltimore recently, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the fisheries management body representing 15 states along the Eastern Seaboard, resolved to cap the harvest of menhaden at 20 percent less than the average landings of 2009-2011. On hand at the meeting were menhaden industry lobbyists and executives as well as deck hands, recreational anglers, state marine resource officials and conservationists - a dizzying array of stakeholders, each presenting arguments bolstered by evidence designed to make their opponents seem unreasonable.
NEWS
October 31, 2011
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is on the threshold of making a game-changing decision: Whether to allow the menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay to be fished to extinction, or to act decisively to save this vital mid-chain food fish. Overfishing the Chesapeake Bay menhaden is exactly the kind of situation ASMFC is empowered to regulate by reducing commercial fishing takes or imposing moratoriums. The decimation of the bay's menhaden population to historic lows deals a severe blow to the area's entire symbiotic oceanic food chain.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | October 21, 2013
A group of Maryland watermen has filed suit seeking to overturn the state's catch limit on menhaden, arguing that it violates state and federal law and that the forage fish is not in need of conservation. In a filing Friday in Dorchester County Circuit Court, two founding members of the Harvesters Land and Sea Coalition ask for a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing catch rules on menhaden imposed this year. A spokesman for the group contends in a statement that Maryland's catch limit is unscientific and unfair, noting that 80 percent of all the menhaden allowed to be caught along the Atlantic coast would go to one company, Omega Protein in Reedville, Va. The state Department of Natural Resources released a statement Monday saying Maryland's menhaden limits are legal, scientifically supported and required under federal law to reduce harvest pressure.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | October 29, 2012
Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Sandy has forced the cancellation of a public hearing Tuesday on a controversial proposal to curtail the coastwide catch of Atlantic menhaden. Fisheries officials decided Monday that predicted storm condtions precluded going ahead with a hearing from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Easton Armory. The Tuesday session was one of two forums in Maryland - and one of a series along the Atlantic coast - to take public comment on a proposal to reduce the catch of menhaden by up to 50 percent.  The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission , which regulates near-shore fishing, is slated to decide the issue in mid-December in Baltimore.  Conservationists and others are urging a sharp reduction in catch, while cuts are opposed by Omega Protein , which operates a large menhaden fishing fleet out of Virginia.  Commercial watermen in Maryland also oppose cuts, arguing that menhaden are essential as bait for the crabbing industry.
SPORTS
By Candus Thomson, The Baltimore Sun | May 6, 2010
Protecting menhaden, the small fish that nourishes striped bass and other species, moved a bit closer to reality Wednesday when East Coast fisheries managers unanimously agreed to review the science that forms the foundation of regulations. Recreational anglers and conservation groups applauded the vote by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to prepare more conservative benchmarks for menhaden that would lead to greater abundance. They had been frustrated by a nine-year process that became mired in interstate politics and intense lobbying by commercial interests.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | October 21, 2013
A group of Maryland watermen has filed suit seeking to overturn the state's catch limit on menhaden, arguing that it violates state and federal law and that the forage fish is not in need of conservation. In a filing Friday in Dorchester County Circuit Court, two founding members of the Harvesters Land and Sea Coalition ask for a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing catch rules on menhaden imposed this year. A spokesman for the group contends in a statement that Maryland's catch limit is unscientific and unfair, noting that 80 percent of all the menhaden allowed to be caught along the Atlantic coast would go to one company, Omega Protein in Reedville, Va. The state Department of Natural Resources released a statement Monday saying Maryland's menhaden limits are legal, scientifically supported and required under federal law to reduce harvest pressure.
NEWS
By Beau Beasley | January 8, 2013
At a historic meeting in Baltimore recently, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the fisheries management body representing 15 states along the Eastern Seaboard, resolved to cap the harvest of menhaden at 20 percent less than the average landings of 2009-2011. On hand at the meeting were menhaden industry lobbyists and executives as well as deck hands, recreational anglers, state marine resource officials and conservationists - a dizzying array of stakeholders, each presenting arguments bolstered by evidence designed to make their opponents seem unreasonable.
NEWS
December 27, 2012
While the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay requires attention from all the half-dozen states in the 64,000-square-mile watershed, there is one step that must be taken almost entirely by one state alone. When the Virginia Assembly reconvenes for its annual 45-day legislative session in January, it needs to impose a strict quota on the harvest of menhaden. Perhaps no species is more important to the bay — and to the major East Coast fisheries in general — than the lowly menhaden, a small, oily fish that is familiar to Maryland anglers primarily as bait.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | December 18, 2012
With catch limits on Atlantic menhaden being tightened to end overfishing, a new study is getting under way to look at just how many of the little oily fish need to be left in the water to maintain the health of other fish in the Chesapeake Bay and along the East Coast. Under a $320,000 grant from the Lenfest Foundation , fisheries scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science plan to investigate where the balance needs to be struck between fishing for menhaden and preserving them for their value in the ecosystem.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | December 14, 2012
In a move hailed by conservationists, East Coast regulators ordered Friday a 20 percent reduction in the commercial catch of Atlantic menhaden, despite warnings that the cutback would cost some fishermen their jobs and may affect crabbers in the Chesapeake Bay. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, meeting before a packed ballroom of partisans in a Southeast Baltimore hotel, ended years of debate over whether the fish were in trouble and...
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | December 13, 2012
From Virginia, New Jersey and points in between, busloads of fishermen are coming to Baltimore for a showdown Friday over how much to curb the industrial-scale harvest of a small, oily fish that figures prominently in the seafood industry, though no one eats it directly. It also is an important food source for fish and wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay and beyond. After decades of study and debate, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates near-shore fishing, is meeting here to adopt a first-ever plan to limit the catch of menhaden, the most intensely harvested fish on the East Coast and second-biggest catch nationwide.
SPORTS
By Candus Thomson, The Baltimore Sun | July 31, 2010
It doesn't take a crystal ball filled with filthy Chesapeake Bay water to realize that when it comes to protecting menhaden, the folks charged with doing so aren't likely to do a blessed thing in time for the 2011 commercial fishing season. Just as sure as Omega Protein has trawlers and huge nets to scoop up menhaden — a keystone bay species and the favored food of striped bass — the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is poised to do absolutely nothing during Tuesday's 90-minute meeting despite a vote to do something almost three months ago. That's right.
FEATURES
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | November 2, 2011
Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler on Wednesday asked the interstate agency that manages the fishing of Atlantic menhaden to increase protection for the fish, which scientists say is an integral part of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering updates to its management plan for the menhaden and Gansler submitted comments to the commission requesting that the threshold for overfishing be nearly doubled from the current rate. "The Commission's interstate fishery management plan … for the menhaden has so far failed to adequately protect the menhaden fishery, particularly from overfishing," Gansler said in his comments.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | November 1, 2012
Fishermen and conservationists sparred Thursday over how much to cut back the commercial catch of Atlantic menhaden along the East Coast to rebuild an ecologically and economically important fish population. Members of conservation and recreational fishing groups called for a reduction of 25 percent to 50 percent in the commercial harvest of menhaden, pointing to scientists' warnings that overfishing was depressing their number to near-historic lows. "For decades now, people have been taking too many of these fish, and now it's time to pay back," said Ken Hastings of Mechanicsville.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | October 29, 2012
Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Sandy has forced the cancellation of a public hearing Tuesday on a controversial proposal to curtail the coastwide catch of Atlantic menhaden. Fisheries officials decided Monday that predicted storm condtions precluded going ahead with a hearing from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Easton Armory. The Tuesday session was one of two forums in Maryland - and one of a series along the Atlantic coast - to take public comment on a proposal to reduce the catch of menhaden by up to 50 percent.  The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission , which regulates near-shore fishing, is slated to decide the issue in mid-December in Baltimore.  Conservationists and others are urging a sharp reduction in catch, while cuts are opposed by Omega Protein , which operates a large menhaden fishing fleet out of Virginia.  Commercial watermen in Maryland also oppose cuts, arguing that menhaden are essential as bait for the crabbing industry.
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