Maryland is considering making emergency striped fishing regulations permanent | latest news

Maryland is considering making emergency striped fishing regulations permanent |  latest news

EASTON, Md. – New emergency regulations governing recreational striped bass/rockfish fishing, implemented two weeks ago by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), may become a permanent fixture in Maryland. The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is considering the move, raising concerns among charter boat operators who fear it could devastate their industry.

Under the previous rule, anglers were allowed to keep two striped fish per person, each in a 19- to 31-inch slot. However, the new regulation allows only one keeper fish per angler, and slot size is limited to 19 to 24 inches, with the goal being that fish 25 inches and older are the spawning fish.

However, charter boat operators are voicing concerns, arguing that these regulations will not only impact their business negatively, but could destroy the entire industry if they become permanent.

These emergency regulations will not take effect until the start of the season in May. In the meantime, the state needs to submit its fishery management plans for ASMFC approval, by March 1.

“They are choosing to cut what we can harvest for our customers, so the product that was in front of us before is no longer there,” said Jason Seaman, vice president of the Maryland Charter Boat Association. “We have a season coming up in a matter of months, and we still don’t have final regulations, so we don’t even know what product we’ll be broadcasting to our customer base.”

Seaman also emphasized the potential ramifications of such actions, especially on the interstate commerce front. “It could destroy the entire industry. You have towns and cities that have people coming in from out of state, so you have interstate commerce that’s happening. So why would these customers travel to our state to fish in a fishery that’s in chaos? Reduced?”

However, DNR officials stress that the regulations are necessary to boost rockfish populations in the Chesapeake Bay, which have been persistently low.

“It’s another layer of protection for the females as they make their way through Maryland and the breeding grounds,” explained Mike Luisi, assistant director of fishing and boating services for the Department of Natural Resources. “We’re trying to do what we can to protect those females that are laying eggs as they come through Maryland. It’s better to have a larger classroom that will boost the population in the future.”

Seaman noted that charter boats are unfairly targeted by these regulations. Boaters hold commercial licenses and must report everything they catch. But the recreational fisherman does not.

“If the charter (charter boat) industry in Maryland is only catching 7 percent of the fish, and you’re taking 50 percent of their quota, you’re not doing anything,” Seaman said. “93% is recreational fishing, so by putting heavy regulations on the employment sector, you’re not creating a positive impact in the state of Maryland.”

The DNR notes that the idea of ​​making the emergency regulation permanent is still in its early stages and could be rolled out by late April. The agency aims to balance conservation efforts with the interests of Maryland’s fishing industry.

For future changes to fishing regulations click here

Dating back to remember:

Maryland will need to submit a fishery management plan or plans implementing these emergency regulations to the Marine Fisheries Commission by March 1.

The DNR could propose making the regulations permanent by late April.

The ASMFC will review the DNR’s fishery management plans and will need to be implemented by May 1.

May 16 is the start of striped bass (rockfish) season.

(Tags for translation) Recreational fishing

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