Maryland is getting closer to at least a temporary moratorium on the killing of cownose rays in bowfishing contests, a summer pastime that has angered animal-rights groups and as well as many fishermen.
By a vote of 119 to 21, Maryland’s House of Delegates passed HB 211 Wednesday, which would impose a moratorium on such contests until July 1, 2019, and require the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to prepare a fisheries management plan by Dec. 31, 2018.
A plan is OK, I guess, although I see no evidence offered that Cownose Rays are in any way threatened by the bowfishing contests. I've seen mass migrations of the rays that stretch as far as you can see:
So, unless Gov. Hogan vetoes this, it will probably happen this year. Watermen hate the rays, thinking they deplete the oysters and crabs (they certainly eat them), and might persuade him to do so, although, I've seen no such effort.
The House action comes a month after the state Senate voted, 46-0, to pass SB 268, which would bar bowfishing contests for rays through July 1, 2018, and require the DNR to develop its management plan a year earlier than called for under the House bill.
The two chambers must resolve differences in their bills over the remaining three weeks of the legislative session. Mary Finelli of Fish Feel, who chairs the Save the Rays Coalition, said advocates are confident a compromise can be reached, though she personally prefers the House version.
"The Coalition fully supports the moratorium on these cruel and wasteful contests while more research is conducted,” she said.I personally do not bowfish for rays, and if I did, I doubt I would join a tournament to do so. I'm pretty content to hook one or two a year while jigging for Striped Bass, and trying to get my tackle back more or less intact.
It does irritate me that this movement is being driven by the anti-hunting/anti-fishing groups. I'm afraid to give them the inch.
Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: The Original Dragon Lady" up and working at The Other McCain.