Friday, July 15, 2011

A Couple of Good Striped Bass Articles

by Candus Thomson, at the Baltimore Sun:

Striped bass audit hides multitude of sins
Let's say you have a product that people automatically associate with you.

Except for one hiccup in the timeline, it's been on the market since before Capt. John Smith rowed a boat around the Chesapeake. And it's so popular that people will do crazy things to get it, like sneak around at night and break the law. There's even a black market supplied by crooks willing to risk going to jail to feed the beast.

But instead of treating this treasure like, well, a treasure, you keep it in a filthy hovel. You lose track of how many you have. You scrimp on protecting it. And your idea of accounting is to allow the very folks who profit by your product to be the gatekeeper at the warehouse.

Welcome to the bizarre universe of the striped bass, Planet Maryland.
That should give you a sense for what's coming...

State proposes new policies to prevent rockfish poaching
State fisheries officials outlined a sweeping plan they hope to implement by December to curb commercial striped bass poaching in the Chesapeake Bay. The announcement Wednesday night came just four months after miles of illegal nets filled with 13 tons of fish were discovered by police in the waters off Kent Island.

Among other things, the proposal would require real-time reporting by phone and electronically of when commercial boats leave the dock and return, and how many striped bass they caught along with the sequential numbers on the tags that watermen must attach to each fish and a positive identification system for nets.

It also provides for a random, two-day audit of the 30 check stations by a Natural Resources Police officer and Fisheries Service biologist to ensure that the number of fish caught match the number of fish the check stations are reporting to DNR. And, the plan would increase penalties and fines for "knowingly egregious or repeat offenses."The proposal by the Department of Natural Resources, which combines a series of new monitoring and enforcement measures, is on a fast track to implementation before the start of the gill net season Dec. 1.
On the fly reporting by phone when you go commercial fishing?  That should inhibit poaching a bit.

And here's a factoid I'd never heard before:
He noted that the amount the state collects each year in commercial permit and license fees, about $451,000, does not cover the management and enforcement expenses, estimated to be $1.2 million. He suggested that fees and taxes would have to be raised to cover the difference.

But the watermen, who acknowledged the poaching problems and the public relations black eye it is giving them, balked at the idea of paying more.

"The honest waterman should not have to pay for this," said Gibby Dean, president of the Chesapeake Bay Commercial Fishermen's Association. "The guys can't stand it anymore."
Anyway,  rumor has it that the Sun is dropping Candy's column.  That would be shame, if true.  Candy does the best sports fishing coverage of any of the regional papers.  I may not always agree with her, but she does her research, and she's not afraid to call a spade a god damn shovel.

No comments:

Post a Comment