Robert T Brown Sr., Senator Hershey, Delegate JacobsFebruary 2018

The first thing I would like to do is thank all our volunteers, vendors and staff for the outstanding 44th annual East Coast Fishermen’s and Aquaculture Trade Expo.  We have already had many vendors sign up for next year’s show.  We have received many telephone calls, emails and letters thanking the Maryland Watermen’s Association for a great show.  I would also like to give a special thank-you to the many sponsors and donors who gave to the Cocktail Party. Without their generous donations and sponsorships we could not continue this valuable event.

It has come to my attention, that the interpretation of haul seine laws on unloading fish from midnight Friday to sunrise Monday morning is now a violation.  Historically, seine netters could haul a seine up to midnight Friday and were allowed to complete the process of taking out those fish to complete that haul.  I am working with the Department of Natural Resources to try and resolve this issue.

At the present time clamming areas are not mapped on any charts. At one time any bottom which was not oyster bottom was considered clam bottom.  The DNR is now attempting to get this bottom charted, as our clamming industry needs to be protected.  Especially as White Clams are returning to the Bay and Razor Clams are very important to our crabbing industry.

We are already watching several bills in the legislature.  There is one on Administrative Penalty, which changes the word shall to may. It would give the Administrative Judge the option to suspend a license rather than revoke it for life.  For example using wrong oyster gear like an oyster dredge in hand tonging, diving or patent tong area etc.

Another Bill would allow an oyster diver to harvest 15 bushels with only one license & oyster surcharge on a boat (as hand tongers do).  Another is to allow oyster buyers a 10% undersize after oysters have been dumped in a conveyor and loaded on a truck as many of the oyster’s bills can be broken during this process.

The Watermen’s Caucus started last week and will continue every Monday evening from 6PM to 8PM in the House Building in Room 318.  Please try and attend and bring your concerns on the industry with you to be discussed with our representatives and senators.  They are our voice!  The reception for the Watermen Caucus will be held February 5th.

Our next MWA sponsored event will be our annual Clay Shoot, will be held at Larry Bowling’s Sporting Clays located in La Plata, MD in May.  A specific date has not yet been made; however there will be more to come on this event as we get closer to May.

The elections of the Executive Board will be held on February7th and will be announced in the March Waterman’s Gazette.

Stay Safe in your travels,

Robert T.

 

Top photograph courtesy of Jay Fleming

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