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But this time I ask you to read this. Support it if it makes sense... I think it is time for this legislation...

February 13, 2007
CONTACT: Robert Glenn 888-758-6580

YELLOW PERCH CONSERVATION ACT OF 2007 INTRODUCED IN MARYLAND SENATE

Annapolis, MD- Maryland state senator Roy Dyson, (D-Dist. 29), has introduced Senate Bill 702 (SB 702), The Yellow Perch Conservation Act of 2007, at the urging of the Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) after ongoing talks with Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) failed to produce any substantive change in the Department's yellow perch management policies. SB 702, if enacted, will ban nets from the Chesapeake Bay's tributaries from January 1 through March 20, the height of the yellow perch spawning season.

Hoping to avert a legislative showdown, CCA MD had met with DNR's newly appointed secretary, John Griffin, but the meeting failed to produce a guarantee from DNR to put forward regulations to protect and restore Maryland's yellow perch population. For eight years, through two administrations, CCA MD has worked tirelessly to restore the once abundant yellow perch population to its historic geographic range and age structure. CCA MD 's efforts have included establishing stocking and monitoring programs, and encouraging state regulators to reduce commercial fishing pressure to give depressed stocks a chance to recover. Despite these efforts the fishery is characterized today by its absence from river systems it used to occupy, and a lack of older, larger fish.

"We appreciate the Secretary taking the time to discuss yellow perch management with us," said Bill Curry, Chairman of CCA MD, "but the time for discussion is over."

"Unfortunately, Secretary Griffin has the same political and bureaucratic limitations as past administrations," added Curry. "Despite eight years of good faith effort on our part to work with DNR, these fish still have nets blocking them from their spawning grounds so 40 commercial netters can send our yellow perch to Midwest fish markets."

Once a harbinger of spring, yellow perch fishing signaled the start of the fishing season for thousands of recreational fishermen in Maryland. That was before commercial fishermen, facing declines in other fisheries, began targeting spawning yellow perch with highly effective nets fished in narrow tributaries. Today, recreational fishermen are effectively shut out of the fishery. Less than 40 commercial netters fishing with an unlimited number of nets take as much as 95% of the yellow perch catch, and ship those fish to Midwest consumers.

"It's always our preference that the DNR perform its legislatively mandated duty to manage and protect the public's natural resources, whether it's diamondback terrapins or yellow perch" said Ken Lewis, Chairman of CCA MD's Government Relations Committee. "But when it doesn't, we have no alternative but to turn to our elected representatives in the legislature."

Concerned anglers and conservationists are urged to support SB 702 by visiting CCA MD's website at www.ccamd.org and entering the Grassroots Action Center to become part of its political communications network. As SB 702 moves forward, registered users will be advised on communicating with their lawmakers to help pass this vital piece of legislation.
 
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