Robert T Brown Sr., Senator Hershey, Delegate JacobsOctober 2017

It is now officially fall and many issues are starting to come to a head. One which is extremely important to the Bait Industry is the Atlantic’s States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Menhaden Addendum III, Reference Guide. The issues at hand are: (1) Reference Points; (2) Allocation Methods and Timeframes; (3) Quota Transfers; (4) Quota Rollovers; (5) Incidental Catch and Small Scale Fisheries; (6) Episodic Events; and (7) Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishery Cap. First of all the ASMFC is trying to manage the fishery without knowing what the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is. This is putting the cart before the horse. This is what happens when the Technical Committee makes decision on assumptions better known as best available science. The main three things that we must keep in mind is first, our incidental catch of 6,000/12,000 pounds, after our quota is met to keep the bait fishery continuing through the season. Second the allocation time frame from 2012 -2016 is our best option for TAC. Third we need Chesapeake Bay Reference Points, rather than Coast-wide Reference Points. The issues at hand are explained on page 3.

MWA and the Maryland Oystermen’s Association (MOA) had a joint meeting with the Department of Nature Resource and the County Oyster Committees on Sunday, September 24th. The discussion was on planting of spat on shell, seed oyster, and shell, This included issues on density of oyster planting and acreage requirements, as well as how to get the best yield and best grade/quality of oyster. We do not need to be restricted to such a small area when trackers are used on board during plantings. This includes seed and spat on shell. Planting an area that is restricted in size causes spat on shell to be become snap or cat tongue oysters. Using the tracker system ensure that the planting occurred and the actual location of the planting area. We just need more area to improve the quality of growth. We also discussed the availability of shells, seed and limits of purchase. In addition, there was discussion on a program to reopen old or new oyster shuck house and sources of revenue to expand the shell, seed and spat on shell program for the public bottom. Charles County provided updated information on their rotational harvest as it is in its third year.

Crabbing has decreased throughout the Bay and tributaries. Perhaps it is because of the hot weather. Hopefully we will see migration soon.

The Baltimore County Crab feast was a sell out and although I missed it by a day, my understanding is that it was great!

The 44th Annual Trade Expo is well on its way. as of September 15, we have sent out over 84 contracts. We have several work boats that will be in the show this year and a big interest from new vendors. Our sponsors for the Cocktail Party on Friday, January 12th has increase and we are looking forward to another excellent show. I want to thank all our loyal vendors for your continued support through the years and look forward to seeing you all again in January 2018.

Stay safe in your travels!

Robert T.

Top photograph courtesy of Jay Fleming

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