Tag Archives: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland fishermen fight federal catfish regulations

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has joined the cause and also sent a letter to UDSA Secretary Perdue, asking for “immediate regulatory relief” from the mandated inspection program for the wild-caught, U.S. catfish industry. “With the U.S. seafood trade deficit reaching historic proportions, strict harvest limits on most other wild seafood species, and traditional U.S. seafood jobs on the decline, the (Trump) Administration must provide every possible advantage to Americans seeking to invest in the business of wild-caught, domestic catfish,” Hogan wrote in the letter dated Tuesday, Aug. 8. Hogan wrote that American consumers increasingly are demanding wild, domestic seafood, and catfish is among that. The “seafood market for catfish in the Maryland/Virginia/D.C. region has grown from zero to millions of pounds sold in just a few years,” the letter reads. click here to read the story 08:30

Ocean City Inlet shoaling problem continues

Problems with sand plugging up the Ocean City Inlet have persisted for decades. “There’s billions of dollars (of state revenue) here,” said fisherman Mike Coppa, owner and operator of a West Ocean City trawling operation. “This is a huge problem. It’s the biggest problem we have.” Local commercial fishermen were the guests at an open forum hosted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Monday, March 27. The semi-annual gathering is held to discuss fisheries issues affecting local operations. Among the topics tossed around the room were several new draft regulations that may affect the take of specific species, the squeeze felt by local fishermen as restrictions are enacted to prevent overfishing in New England, pressures to maintain product quotas to retain valuable fishing permits and methods to attract new fishermen to the local commercial fishing district. continue reading the story here 16:14

Poor Striper Spawn Reported in Chesapeake

maryland-striper-index-2016The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday that the annual Juvenile Striped Bass Survey indicates that the 2016 striper spawn in the Chesapeake was well below average.  However, it also found one-year-old striped bass from last year’s very successful year-class in abundance. Striped bass spawning success is strongly affected by environmental conditions such as rainfall and varies greatly from year-to-year, with occasional large year-classes interspersed with average or below-average year-classes. “While this year’s striped bass index is disappointing, it is not a concern unless we observe poor spawning in multiple, consecutive years,” said Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer. Read the rest here 15:03

A Good News Report: Blue crab numbers rebounding

blue_crabBlue crab population numbers have grown for the second straight year, especially for female crabs, but their numbers are still below target levels, a Chesapeake Bay Program report released Thursday said. The report also found that crabs were not being overfished, with about 50 million pounds taken last year over 2014’s 35.2 million pounds — the lowest harvest in 25 years. It urged regulators to stay the course and maintain crab management regulations in order to maintain the progress. Female crabs rebounded from a depleted 68 million in 2014 to 194 million at the beginning of the 2016 crabbing season, and juvenile crabs, those that will grow to harvestable size by the fall and grow into large crabs by next season, were also holding steady. Read the rest here  07:59

Two Maryland fishermen banned from fishing for striped bass forever

636026244661894954-14835094354-773784d875-m-dThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources said that Michael D. Hayden Jr. and William J. Lednum, both of Tilghman Island, have received lifetime revocations of their striped bass privileges and have been suspended from all commercial fishing activity for the next year, followed by a four-year probationary period in all other fisheries. Their striped bass allocations are being returned to the commercial fishery allotment. In simpler terms, the two men were convicted of poaching and selling nearly $500,000 of striped bass over four years and have received lifetime bans from taking part in that fishery. Hayden and Lednum remain responsible for $498,000 in court-ordered restitution to the state of Maryland. Read the rest here 13:23:08

Smithsonian expert urges caution, patience on blue crab recovery

blue_crabThe results are in, 2016 is going to be a good year for blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. An iconic figure embedded in the culture and cuisine of the Chesapeake Bay area, the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) sustains the most profitable fishery in Maryland and supports thousands of fishermen and seafood businesses in Maryland and Virginia. Based on the annual winter survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, there are nearly 35 percent more blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay this season than there were in 2015. That’s good news, especially on the heels of a 38 percent increase the previous year. But scientists say there is a cautionary tale in this rapid rise. (but, of course!) Read the rest here  16:29

Maryland scientists to conduct Chesapeake Bay oyster harvest study

Oyster-basketScientists say they have only a vague idea of how many oysters cover the reefs in the Chesapeake Bay, and can’t say how many can be harvested safely each year without threatening the future of an already decimated population.In the waning hours of its 2016 session, the Maryland General Assembly this week authorized a study that advocates say will not only provide a more precise count of the bivalves, but assess how quickly they are reproducing, how fast they are growing and how they are faring against disease. The oyster study stoked controversy in an hours-long hearing earlier this month. Many watermen said it would lead inevitably to restrictions on their harvests, and the state Department of Natural Resources initially opposed it because the legislation left the DNR out of the research. But in a compromise, lawmakers gave the department responsibility for the study, to be conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. A final report is due in December 2018. Read the rest here 19:12

Chesapeake Bay blue crab population grows 35 percent; DNR predicts ‘robust’ season

blue crabThere are more than 550 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, an increase of more than a third over this time last year and one of the highest population counts of the past two decades. A winter dredging survey found the strongest growth in the populations of adult male crabs, which more than doubled. The number of spawning females, a key barometer for future population growth, nearly doubled but remained slightly below a target population count of 215 million.Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials, who released the survey results Tuesday, said the results bode well for local crab harvests. Read the rest here 15:53

Tyaskins man banned permanently from commercial fishing in Maryland

635899345770030546-Adam-AntesAdam Rodney Antes, 33, of Tyaskin, was found guilty of taking oysters from protected waters over a two year period, over harvesting and harvesting undersized oysters, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He was assessed 60 points on his tidal fishing license, according to DNR, which is nearly double what is required to trigger the revocation hearing process. On Jan. 11, four days before he was given the revocation, Antes was charged with another eight counts of oyster poaching. Officers set up surveillance on the vessel, Kimberly Dawn, tied up near Bivalve Harbor in Wicomico County, after they acted on a tip. They saw piles of oysters on the boat’s deck, according to DNR. Read the rest here 16:27

New Maryland director of fisheries named

David Blazer, deputy director of harbor development for the Maryland Port Administration, takes over Sept. 21 as director of fisheries, DNR announced Wednesday.The announcement comes more than three months after the firing of Tom O’Connell, a veteran DNR employee who had been fisheries director since 2008. Hogan administration officials offered no explanation at the time for the removal of O’Connell and three other top DNR officials. While conservationists and even some commercial watermen had urged the Hogan administration to retain O’Connell, the head of the Maryland Watermen’s Association, Robert T. Brown Sr., had pressed for changes, reflecting watermen’s unhappiness with O’Malley administration fisheries policies. Read the rest here 09:41

The real culprit behind the war on watermen is pollution

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been accused of waging a “war on watermen,” and watermen are fighting back, seeking changes in the way the bay’s fisheries are being managed. They say their livelihoods are being undermined and their culture threatened. They are right about that, but they are directing their anger at the wrong people. The bay is choking on an overload of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from a variety of pollution sources. The results of this over-enrichment are massive population explosions of algae that turn the water to pea soup from spring to fall. This cloudy water blocks sunlight from underwater grasses, reducing this critical habitat for crabs and juvenile fish to only 20 percent of historical coverage. Read the rest here 15:27

Fithian contests DNR statement on rockfish quota

“There’s no science behind it,” Fithian said of the reduction. “There are more fish of any size in the Chesapeake Bay than there have ever been in my lifetime.” Recent reductions in the crab harvest may be a direct reflection of this abundance, Fithian said. Rockfish are voracious predators, he said. He referred to a photo included with the commissioners’ letter to Gill, showing a large number of inch-long crabs in the stomach of a rockfish being cleaned. Read the rest here 10:22

Tilghman Island Man Sentenced in Fish Poaching Case – conspiring to violate the Lacey Act

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced William J. Lednum, age 41, of Tilghman Island, today to a year and a day in prison, followed by six months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release, for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act and to defraud the United States through the illegal harvesting and sale of 185,925 pounds of striped bass. Read the rest here 19:39

Conservative regulations likely even though striped bass spawning stock is up

Last week the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the 2014 juvenile index which measures striped bass spawning success in Chesapeake Bay is 11.0, nearly equal to the 61-year average which is a big improvement from recent years,,,Striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay area migrate north to Rhode Island and as far as Maine,,, Read more here 19:14

Military-grade radar network watching for oyster poachers ‘It doesn’t sleep’

In the 1860s, poachers struck at night, sometimes in black-painted ships with darkened sails, outlaws raiding protected oyster beds. Lawmakers formed an Oyster Navy armed with cannons, but this police fleet was outgunned in the oyster wars of the 19th century. Today, cannons are out and military-grade radar is in to protect Chesapeake Bay oysters. Read the rest here 18:46

Hard choices for the Chesapeake

ASMFC SidebarThe current position of ASMFC for stripers is that “Projections of female SSB (spawning stock biomass) and fishing mortality suggest if the current fishing mortality rate (0.20) is maintained during 2013-2017, the probability of the stock being overfished is high and increases until 2015-2016, but declines thereafter. Read the rest here 11:31

Confirmation of Maryland Department of Natural Resources head postponed, bill killed – Confrontation with watermen’s association president alleged

A fisheries management bill was killed in the state legislature and a confirmation hearing held up following an accusation that the acting head of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources threatened the livelihood of the state’s watermen’s association president in Annapolis. Read [email protected]  06:47

Commercial watermen speak vehemently against fisheries bill

The bill, SB145, would define how the natural resources department opens and closes fishing seasons, changes catch limits and modifies where fishing can take place via public notice. Read [email protected]  17:27

Holiday season is time to crack down on oyster poaching in Chesapeake Bay

 The weeks leading to the holidays tend to be the most active for oyster poachers in the Chesapeake Bay, but the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and state police were hoping in recent days that new technology and harsher penalties would help them crack down on illegal oyster harvesting. Read [email protected]  13:10

 

Commercial Striped Bass Hook and Line Harvest Closure – Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Secretary of Maryland Department of Natural Resources pursuant to Code of Maryland Regulation 08.02.15.12H announces the closure of the 2013 commercial striped bass hook and line fishery, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.  The annual commercial hook and line quota is expected to be caught by November 19th. Joseph P. Gill Secretary  Maryland Department of Natural Resources 15:00

Maryland Department of Natural Resources responds to watermen lawsuit

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has responded to a lawsuit filed against it on Oct. 18, alleging that menhaden limits were set illegally after not following proper implementation procedure. [email protected]

Watermen,scientists in Maryland – worst crab season in recent memory,blaming weather patterns, an abundance of predators and cannibalism.

It’s definitely an off season,” John “Willy” Dean of Scotland, a crabber who is the president of the St. Mary’s Watermen’s Association, said this week. He said last year he saw lots of very small crabs as he hauled in his pots, evidence supported by the results of an annual survey conducted by Maryland Department of Natural Resources. “We never caught those crabs. Nobody did,” he said. [email protected] 08:48

 

Harvesters Land and Sea Coalition alleges Maryland Department of Natural Resources illegally set menhaden regulations

EASTON — A recently organized group, the Harvesters Land and Sea Coalition, is calling for the withdrawal of regulations put into effect in June by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on the total allowable catch of menhaden, alleging that DNR didn’t follow proper procedure for promulgating the regulations. “We’ve tried and tried and tried to work with DNR, and the reason this coalition was started is we can’t do anything else,” Bob Newberry, spokesman for the coalition, said. [email protected]

Maryland Department of Natural Resources to raise the cost of commercial fishing, crabbing licenses for fisheries management. law enforcement.

For watermen, especially ones who work on the water as a part-time job, the higher fees add to the escalating cost of bait, fuel and equipment. But the increases are needed to maintain the level of management and keep fisheries open, according to two statewide watermen associations that helped develop the new price structure with DNR officials. [email protected]

Maryland to limit female crab catch

The Department of Natural Resources announced that it was lowering the  daily allowable catch of female crabs, effective Thursday. The The number of female crabs increased substantially despite the overall  decline, and remained well above the threshold scientists say is needed to  sustain the population. But officials said they would seek to reduce the female  crab harvest by 10 percent as a precaution, to boost prospects for a good spawn  this year and possibly spark a rebound in the highly prized crustaceans. continued

DNR Releases 2013 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Numbers

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently released the 2013 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey numbers, showing mixed results. continued

New DNR program extends to Southern Maryland – tougher penalty system for commercial fishing violations.

SoMd News – Previously, a waterman had to receive multiple convictions before the department could impose a suspension; the new system allows the agency to impose suspensions for a single conviction, according to DNR. Additionally, the state increased the penalty for engaging in commercial fishing with a suspended license, a revoked license or without a license, by establishing a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. continued

Waterman cleared of illegal clamming due to lack of notice

There was nothing fishy about a waterman digging for clams in a protected zone  of the Chesapeake Bay because the state natural resources department failed to  publish the area’s specific boundaries, Maryland’s top court has held. Read more

Our view: The good news is that Maryland’s oyster catch is up; the bad is that it’s unlikely to last

According to DNR records, the total number of people licensed to harvest oysters is now about 800, or twice what it’s been in years past. That means a lot of carpenters, house painters, landscapers and others are likely putting down their tools and heading out on the water — and were willing to pay $300 for a license to do so. Read More

Striped bass juvenile index falls below average Maryland Department of Natural Resources

“While we expect large variation in striped bass reproduction from year to year and do not view this low value as an imminent problem, we will be carefully monitoring the results of future surveys,” said DNR Fisheries Director Tom O’Connell. “Three consecutive years of poor reproduction would be necessary to trigger mandatory conservation measures.”http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&ndb=1&id=56219