Monday, November 14, 2016

A Chesapeake Sanctuary for Sturgeon?

Two years ago a female Atlantic Sturgeon was spotted with eggs in the Marshyhope Creek, a tributary of the Nanticoke River. As a result, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science are asking NOAA to turn part of this river into critical areas.

NOAA has already proposed several areas up and down the Atlantic coast and parts of the Chesapeake as critical habitats to protect the fish during spawning.

Eileen Sobeck with NOAA says, "Sturgeon need this habitat to recover and these designations give us an important additional conservation tool."

But some people, including Dorchester County Councilman Tom Bradshaw have their concerns.

"The way I read it and understand it is that if they think this fish is in this river and is spawning, then any kind of activity, commercial and recreational fishing, marine traffic, marine construction has to cease for as long as they are in there spawning," said Bradshaw.
That sounds wrong, and excessive. The sturgeon have clearly started to recover on their own, despite the presence of all these human influences. Protection from fishing and habitat protection are probably the most important factors in the recovery of the fish, and a total ban on human presence in the ecosystem during spawning is unnecessarily restrictive.
Bradshaw believes that could be a detriment to the economy. He says the council was not notified of the potential regulations, and says a compromise needs to be found.

"Talking to the scientists that put this out, and the watermen, bringing them all to the table, saying this is what we see, the watermen saying this is what we see, what common ground can we find on this?"
I can certainly see restrictions on fishing while the adult spawners are present, but recreations boats, including, say, kayakers?

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Getting Ready for Thanksgiving" up and running at The Other McCain.

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