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· Premium Member
8,793 Posts
Let me start by saying, I don't know this guy from Adam.

What I do know is that I've been reviewing the Chesapeake Bay report card over the last two decades along with fisheries data and it's terrible.

I used to be a CBF fan, I'm not sure I am anymore for the simple fact, they appear to have failed miserably in their mission. And they're not alone, just about every single "conservation" organization has failed.

This conclusion all comes from their own reports on bay health, or lack there of.

Some will come in and say, well if we were not there it would be worse. Ummm, I guess a D is better than an F? Maybe?

I've also been going back and adding up how much money was spent on the Bay and how much still is on a yearly basis.

I remember the menhaden fight as good as anyone.

By the numbers, the "conservation" organizations could have literally bought Omega Protein AND paid the workers several years salary as severance.

If a new company came in, which would have been hard because of the capital requirements, there was enough money to buy them too.

The same can be said for oysters, crabs, striped bass and other species.

By all accounts the conservation of the Bay is an utter failure and only destined to get worse.

If this sort of performance happened in the for profit world they would have all been fired long ago. Yet, the conservation non-profits will create their marketing campaigns and that donation card still shows up in your mailbox to make you feel guilty and you send in that money.

Looking back twenty years later, it sure looks like an utter total failure and huge waste of money.

Am I wrong?

edited for typos

· Premium Member
8,793 Posts
Other then a "dip" on a 8 year average (twice), it seems as though the health is actually been improving, and it currently on an upswing.

Seems the records go back to 1986 when the bay actually got a lower score card. Over the past 36 years there have only been 6 years where the score was above 2021. Look at the chart to right in below link. Notice the pretty much steady rise since 2003. There were dips in 2003, 2010 and 2018, but it's overall an incline since 1986.

Most of the guys who are doom and gloom are comparing their success to the artificially inflated high back in early 1990's after the moratorium. There are a few guys who fished the 50's and 60's when it really was good, but not many here. I probably caught my 1st striper in the late 60's or early 1970. I can say that my success nowadays is much better then it was in the 70's in the upper bay. Maybe my spots still produce because I don't blast everything over social media. If I take someone out and they post, they don't get invited back.

I do agree with you on the "Conservation" organization. Most all are just lining pockets.
I'm talking about the overall health of the Bay.

Scoring 50% is failing by all accounts. The chart I saw on the link you send it awful.

I will say that I like your positive attitude, but don't get fooled into thinking that the BILLIONS of dollars that have been spent did what it was supposed to or was promised.

Best I can tell most of the money was marketed under "restoration" and "conservation" but in reality was/is a job creation program and nothing else.

I'm not against job creation things, but let's all get real and call it what it is so those of us who are actually hopeful can adjust our expectations so we're not disappointed.

I've lived in California for over a decade, note I still have a place in Easton, and while California does some whacky things on both sides of the aisle, I'll say when they do conservation they really do it. The fisheries are hardcore on the long game, even if it hurts fishermen (all) in the short term. But you know what, there's fish year in and year out.

When it comes to land, it's conserved. Most people that visit us here in Half Moon Bay can't believe that San Francisco is 25 min away because it's so rural. It's rural because there is no development allowed. Long stories and fights about all this you can read about.

The way I see it from having been involved in the Chesapeake Bay for most of my life is the fisheries are mismanaged, but it's just as much about the pollution.

If you want to argue with me about fisheries then please let me know how many sturgeon were caught last year. How's the striped bass index doing? How about the flounder? How many of those were caught in Eastern Bay last year? How's menhaden doing? How's the oysters? Oh right, the oyster "restoration" "conservation" program is really a jobs program. It's a joke and I witnessed in public and behind closed doors at DNR.

The land conservation on Maryland's waterways is non-existent. Some of that is just history of how the whole east coast evolved from the original settlers. But, if you want that house on the water and a great looking green lawn, the ecosystem is going to pay, which it has.

I'll agree with you that the people at both ends of the spectrum are too extreme, the doom and gloom and the it's all fine. The reality exists somewhere in the middle and from all accounts it's on the it's a lot worse then on the mend.


· Premium Member
8,793 Posts

Refresh my memory; were you appointed to Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission years ago ? If so, while you don't serve there now how many years did you serve ?
You are correct. I was appointed to the SFAC and served I believe 4.5 years. I fought hard and actually wanted to get something done. Then one day I realized I was just one vote and a pawn in the game. AND that the only way you really are going to move the needle is by having more than one vote.

People back then thought that I was against commercial fishing, heck at one point the recreational fishermen thought I was against rec fishing.

Truth, which holds to this day, is I'm pro fish. I'm willing to go against my own short term self interest (rec angler) to have fish for the future.

Here's the thing...

I used to meet with Larry Simms the head of the MD Watermen's Association on a regular basis. A lot of the time we met for lunch in Rockhall. I forget the name of the place we had lunch, but it was right there on the right hand side of the road we you drive into town. Might have been Fords Seafood, I can't remember. At times we met in Easton. He sometimes would bring another watermen to the meeting. I always went alone.

We actually agreed on a lot of fronts. We did disagree also and sometimes we even got into some debates that delayed our regular meetings a month or too to let things cool down because I think we both knew we might say something that we shouldn't say to one another.

Here's what he told me one day that I'll never forget and changed the whole game for me.

He said, "Brandon, do you want to know how we get our way more often then the recs? Even when it doesn't make complete sense for the fishery?"

You can imagine my anticipation. I said, "Yea I do!"

He said," We donate to all the politicians on a regular basis. It's not always a lot, maybe a few hundred dollars. But, we do it on a consistent basis. That's how it works. You may not like to hear that, but it's the truth."

I thought about that for a while. Then I even tried to get the "conservation" organizations to take this tactic. The pushback I got was essentially, it shouldn't work that way. We're not playing that game. And right there is when I realized the recs and conservation orgs would lose and keep losing. And as that happened the fishing would get worse, heck the whole Bay would get worse.

You may not like what you just heard there and you might not even agree. But, I'm a person who just wants to know what the game is so I can win.

In these sorts of situations you have a choice

1) You can try and change the game.

2) You can find out what the game is and build a strategy to win.

They are VERY different choices. In this fight, I choose #2.

There were a few other things I saw happened behind closed doors that I also didn't agree with. There was a coverup of money used from one fisheries pool of money that was not allowed to be used for another but was, it was covered up. I didn't agree nor want to be a part of that sort of stuff.

I'll mention one other VERY impactful thing that caused me to leave the SPAC.

I used to play poker now and again with some fisheries biologists who I'm friends with. One night after some beers one of them as an aside said to me,

"Brandon, do you want to know why you're never going to get the commercial netting reduced." Of course I wanted to know.

He said, because if that happened people in MD DNR would lose their job. A lot of people job is to monitor and manage that fishery.

That simple. J o b s.

Of what the irony, a service that is supposed to manage fisheries and do the right thing for them has humans involved. And humans always want to take care of their basic needs like money, food and shelter before moving up the hierarchy of needs to do things that are bigger then themselves.

Soooo with all that data I realized I was a pawn in this game. And...I hate losing more than I want to win.

I decided to take a different tract. So far it seems to be a better plan with less BS and clear path to how to win.

So, there you have it. It's not the whole story, but it's some main highlights since you asked. :)

Edited for typos. Hands are a little cold this morning.
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