Gibby Dean's proposal to give poachers a three-day amnesty window to remove their illegal gill nets from the Chesapeake Bay was rejected twice this week.Aw, they were afraid that somebody might discover a whole new set of nets when the water gets warm and the corpses start to float and stink, and it would make them all look bad. Poor babies...
First, the Sport Fish Advisory Commission voted 14-0 against the proposal by the president of the Chesapeake Bay Commercial Fishermen's Association.
Two nights later, it was rejected by the Tidal Fish Advisory Commission, which consists mostly of representatives of the commercial industry.
Dean is worried that if, on the off chance, poachers left their nets in the water rather than risk arrest during February's saturation patrols by Natural Resources Police, those fish-filled receptacles of stink could case a public relations nightmare if they snag recreational boats and fishing lines.
Dean pitched his idea as a way to wipe the slate clean and restore accountability. Poachers could retrieve their nets and tag and check illegal striped bass. The total would be take off December's allocation. The poachers would not get paid, but would get to keep the nets, which could be modified to make them legal, he said.
TFAC member Bob Evans, a long-time waterman, was certain nets remain in the bay. "If you don't clean them up and the water temperature reaches 65, they're going to be floating and stinking everywhere...We've got a problem. We need to address it. We've got to stop it."
But Commissioner Brian Keehn, president of the Maryland Charter Boat Association, objected to giving poachers their nets back, asking, "Where's the deterrent in that?"
Fisheries Service Director Tom O'Connell warned that "having nets show up this spring could be devastating to the industry," and suggested watermen concerned about their image could call the Poacher Hotline (800-635-6124) and tell NRP where the nets are.
So far, 12.6 tons of striped bass have been seized from illegal nets around Kent Island.
I copied the whole article as is because it's all so germane. Hit the link so Candy gets the count.