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Just read Candy's article about rockfish and nets. Can some one provide updates on..

- flounder regs, what was the consensus?
- will ther be crappie management changes?
- how did the mssa allocation discussion go?

TIGHT LINES!!
 

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- flounder regs, what was the consensus? - Option 3 but Commissioner O'Brien and others had reservations about the process.

- will ther be crappie management changes? - Tom O'Connell agreed it was necessary but needs to assess priorities since DNR resources are stretched.

- how did the mssa allocation discussion go? - Never happened?

The big news is the commission voted unanimously in support of a motion made by Dave Sikorski (CCA) and seconded by Ed O'Brien (MCBA) to recommend that DNR not reopen the gill net season until they can demonstrate that poaching is under control. (Not the exact wording - it was almost the same as what CCA requested in the letter it sent to the Department yesterday.) Tom O'Connell said the department plans to make a decision by Friday as to whether the season will reopen in February.

Also, kudo's to Brandon who had some great comments on the usefulness of all nets and didn't take any slack when he was questioned.

Considering the commercial guys meet Thursday night, I would think DNR still needs our encouragement. This is a forest and trees scenario right now. It's fantastic that we're looking at the big picture with petitions and other grass-roots efforts, but the first priority is keeping the season from opening while there is still so much illegal activity going on. As crazy as it sounds, it could reopen next week!
 

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I was there:))

Shawn summed it up pretty nicely, thanks for doing that:thumbup:

If we care about getting nets out of the bay we need everyone to stand up and express his/her concern with the magnitude of destruction that nets can do in Maryland as seen with the last few weeks incidents.

I would encourage anyone that can to show up to the Tidal Fish Commission meeting Thursday night at 6pm at MD DNR to show up and testify about your concern opening the gill net fishery. This is not time for rhetoric, it's time for action.:yes:
 

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I did not realize that Maryland is one of the few States that allows Gill Nets. In Florida, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on the use of gill nets in state waters in November 1994.

I wonder if we can do the same in Maryland?
 

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The motion was: A recommendation to DNR to keep the gill net fishery closed until it is able to conclusively demonstrate that illegal gill net fishing is under control, that the fishery can be effectively managed, and that the fishery’s catch can be fully accounted for.

Thank you to all of the SFAC Commissioners for their comments regarding the gill net fishery. Everyone brought up great points and I was glad to have unanimous support on the motion.

Brian Keehn of the MCBA also made some great points during the public comment period. He pointed out a number of current problems with the check in system, and shared concerns about the negative impact reopening the season could have on Maryland's reputation coastwide.


There is a great deal of work to be done to better Striped Bass management in Maryland, and I look forward to working with DNR and the various Stakeholder groups to work for a better future for the natural resources of the Bay.

-D

Here is the letter from CCA MD to Secretary Griffin...

Dear Secretary Griffin:

Last Friday, the Department justifiably closed the gill net season “until DNR can
determine the extent of illegal nets out on the Bay and the amount of striped bass
caught in those nets.” CCA Maryland is now calling on the Department to keep
the gill net fishery closed until it is able to conclusively demonstrate that illegal
gill net fishing is under control, that the fishery can be effectively managed and
that the fishery’s catch can be fully accounted for.

The recent discovery of anchored gill nets, coupled with the knowledge that they
have been set in the depths of the Bay for years is clear evidence of the problems
that exist within the fishery. As documented in the recent federal investigation,
fish from these illegal nets may be bypassing the State's management and tracking
system in unquantifiable numbers.

In making this request CCA Maryland acknowledges the uncertainty and
appreciates the difficulty in accounting for any fishery. The recreational fishery is
no exception. However, the numbers of fish recovered in the last week and a half
are astounding. According to the Department’s estimates, these illegal nets
equaled more than 66 working days for a commercial licensee. The fact that the
annual management scheme can be completely undermined in a matter of a few
days indicates an underlying weakness in the program. This weakness leaves
many of our members and other citizens asking whether or not there is a place for
these nets on the Bay.

If any benefit has come from these recent events we hope it will result in increased penalties for
poachers. CCA Maryland also encourages DNR to place renewed emphasis on improving the
current tagging system to help prevent the sale of illegal striped bass. We hope these events will
also underline the need to strengthen both recreational and commercial angler accountability in
the striped bass fishery. We look forward to discussing with the Department and other
stakeholders what steps may be necessary to improve this accountability.

Sincerely,

Ed Liccione
Chairman
 

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Keith

I think many of the coastal states in the south have ban all nets, not just gill nets. Need to check on it, but I believe the report given last night in regards to that are accurate.

Brandon
 

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IMHO - Leave gill net season closed. This will prevent poachers from making a bee line to illegal nets they had to leave while DNR is searching / watching. Give DNR more time to find these nets.

Open the gill net season back up - sure bet illegal nets will be pulled up.

DNR needs to act in the best interest of the fishery and not cave into pressure from the commercial netters.

Far too much is at stake to reopen the gill net season.
 

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Well, obviously the net season should not be reopened, now or ever! In the Deleware Bay netting of all types was banned about 15 yrs. ago and now they have a few fish there to catch. Someone said there are 200 watermen total operating in Md's portion of the Ches. Bay. Not to step on the watermens' toes but that isn't nothing! Everyday thousands of people get put out of work. The same as buffalo hunters and skinners in the 1800's. They killed off the buffalo and henceforth they went out of business. Omega and watermen catch as many fish as they can- soon no fish- that equals no watermen. Buy us out they say, but why? I own a business and if I go out of business the govt. will not give me money! They think they have "entitlement", where does this come from?

Another thing is why does everyone contact DNR, etc. to get anything done? These people are not elected so they don't care about anyone. Email the DNR's bosses; the state Senators, state representatives and Governor. Contrary to public opinion these guys do use common sense and realize that the average working men out number the rich guys. So inorder to keep their jobs who do you think they will vote to please? But remember, unless the politicians are told there is a problem and how to fix it, how will they know to do anything?

Just an old fools' thoughts. Bob
 

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Hippie,

Very good comments regarding contacting the appropriate senators, representatives and the Governor. They are the ones who can truely put preassure on the DNR. If the appropriate action is not taken now it might be time to consider a state wide referndum regarding nets in the bay and/or Maryland waters. There should be plenty of guidance available from other states as well as the pro and anti slots organizations in Maryland. This may be our one and only shot at fixing this problem once and for all.
 

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The motion was: A recommendation to DNR to keep the gill net fishery closed until it is able to conclusively demonstrate that illegal gill net fishing is under control, that the fishery can be effectively managed, and that the fishery's catch can be fully accounted for.

Thank you to all of the SFAC Commissioners for their comments regarding the gill net fishery. Everyone brought up great points and I was glad to have unanimous support on the motion.

Brian Keehn of the MCBA also made some great points during the public comment period. He pointed out a number of current problems with the check in system, and shared concerns about the negative impact reopening the season could have on Maryland's reputation coastwide.

There is a great deal of work to be done to better Striped Bass management in Maryland, and I look forward to working with DNR and the various Stakeholder groups to work for a better future for the natural resources of the Bay.

-D

Here is the letter from CCA MD to Secretary Griffin...

Dear Secretary Griffin:

Last Friday, the Department justifiably closed the gill net season "until DNR can
determine the extent of illegal nets out on the Bay and the amount of striped bass
caught in those nets." CCA Maryland is now calling on the Department to keep
the gill net fishery closed until it is able to conclusively demonstrate that illegal
gill net fishing is under control, that the fishery can be effectively managed and
that the fishery's catch can be fully accounted for.

The recent discovery of anchored gill nets, coupled with the knowledge that they
have been set in the depths of the Bay for years is clear evidence of the problems
that exist within the fishery. As documented in the recent federal investigation,
fish from these illegal nets may be bypassing the State's management and tracking
system in unquantifiable numbers.

In making this request CCA Maryland acknowledges the uncertainty and
appreciates the difficulty in accounting for any fishery. The recreational fishery is
no exception. However, the numbers of fish recovered in the last week and a half
are astounding. According to the Department's estimates, these illegal nets
equaled more than 66 working days for a commercial licensee. The fact that the
annual management scheme can be completely undermined in a matter of a few
days indicates an underlying weakness in the program. This weakness leaves
many of our members and other citizens asking whether or not there is a place for
these nets on the Bay.

If any benefit has come from these recent events we hope it will result in increased penalties for
poachers. CCA Maryland also encourages DNR to place renewed emphasis on improving the
current tagging system to help prevent the sale of illegal striped bass. We hope these events will
also underline the need to strengthen both recreational and commercial angler accountability in
the striped bass fishery. We look forward to discussing with the Department and other
stakeholders what steps may be necessary to improve this accountability.

Sincerely,

Ed Liccione
Chairman
Dave,

I have to ask. What do you think about "Lifting the 3 mile limit" effort that the group "Let us Fish" is sponsoring? Do you think the 3 mile limit should be lifted in the ocean?
 

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I missed the meeting due to some very bad back problems i am having (off to dr again today) and the fact that my daughter had a function to attend as well. Anyhow, I am excited and pleased to hear the SFAC recommended keeping the gillnet season closed. We will see if it is enough pressure for DNR to respond accordingly and how the TFAC votes on Thursday. Thanks Dave Sikorski and the CCA for making the motion to get the ball rolling! While I hate the thought of shutting down and keeping a access to fishing closed due to "unknowns". I certainly think there are enough "knowns" to justify a continued closure.

In regards to the allocation issue, I was told that DNR laid out the how they plan on addressing the issue and will be submitting something to the SFAC by the next meeting. This is second hand info so maybe others can confirm.

3 mile line topic here: http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/299066-lifting-3-mile-limit-in-ocean-for-rockfish
 
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