Maryland’s six-month oyster season enters its busiest phase tomorrow with the opening of power dredge season, and the officers of the Natural Resources Police are ready for the challenge.
“Our mission from now until the end of March is to protect oysters that belong to the citizens of Maryland and protect the livelihoods of law-abiding watermen,” said DNR Secretary Joe Gill. “We will use every tool at our disposal, with officers in the air and on water and land, to inspect boats, wholesalers and retail outlets. There is no place in Maryland for oyster outlaws.” Read more
Statement from DNR Secretary Joe Gill on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Striped Bass action:
“This week’s decision by ASMFC acknowledges its strong commitment and shared responsibility in managing striped bass, a flagship species along the Atlantic coast. A 25% reduction to the coastal fisheries is needed, as these are the areas that primarily catch large, female striped bass and have been the principal cause for the elevated coastwide fishing mortality levels.
Maryland, along with its Bay partners of Virginia, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission and the District of Columbia, presented a strong case for requiring lower reductions to our Bay fisheries. While the approved reductions are higher than we requested, we appreciate that ASMFC was able to recognize the inequities of the situation and agree upon a reduction that attempts to balance the level of conservation with the socio-economic needs of our local communities. The ASMFC also made a strong commitment to develop Chesapeake Bay reference points, which will take into consideration the predominance of male fish in this fishery.
As a strong partner of ASMFC, Maryland is committed to implementing the required actions. Over the next couple of months, we will be working with our fishermen to develop the final rules that need to be in place prior to the beginning of the 2015 fishing season.”
To better understand how ASMFC’s decision will affect Maryland anglers, see the summary here.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources today announced that the 2014 juvenile index ─ a measure of striped bass spawning success in Chesapeake Bay ─ is 11.0, nearly equal to the 61-year average of 11.7. The results indicate a healthy level of reproduction for Maryland’s state fish. Read more
In a sure sign that fall is here, watermen in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore today are kicking off the beginning of the six-month oyster harvest season.
“As the weather cools, the transition from harvesting blue crabs to oysters begins and we are again reminded of the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay and how it helps define us as Marylanders,” said DNR Secretary Joe Gill. “It is our responsibility to be good stewards and ensure that this tradition is protected for generations to come.” Read more
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service has certified a new freshwater division white perch record and an Atlantic division cobia record.
On September 5, James Stiars of Baldwin caught a 1.7-pound white perch in the Loch Raven Reservoir, breaking the previous record of 1.62 pounds set by John Williams in 2008 also in Loch Raven.
“It was my first cast of the day,” he said. “I was using a Shad Rat crank-bait, and I thought I had a largemouth bass on the line. When I saw it was a perch, I knew it could be a record.” Read more
Maryland Natural Resources Police officers last Wednesday charged a Grasonville man with operating an illegal fishing service as part of a continuing state and federal investigation into charter boats on Kent Island. Read more
First recorded captures in more than 40 years
Over the past several weeks Maryland Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists have located, tagged and released eight adult Atlantic sturgeon in an Eastern Shore tributary of the Chesapeake. This is the first time in more than 40 years that mature female sturgeon have been documented in Maryland upstream habitats. Read more
Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joe Gill today announced the winners of the 11th annual Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest. Approximately 150 photographers entered nearly 800 photographs this year. Laurie Brice of Annapolis earned the grand prize for her up-close Red-footed Cannibalfly taken at the Glendenning Butterfly Garden within the Jug Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Read more
Maryland Natural Resources Police officers continue to press their “Don’t Get Pinched” crab enforcement campaign, inspecting seafood dealers, roadside stands and commercial and recreational crabbers. Read more