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

First I would like to thank Governor Hogan for his letter sent to the Secretary of Agriculture, on American Blue Catfish harvested, to postpone inspection of Blue Catfish by the federal government for six months while the American fisheries can prepare for this requirement. (See page 4).

In addition, I want to thank our Governor for working so hard put together a comprehensive plan to dredge the Conawinago Dam, working with the neighboring states governments. To make a better management plan to help clean up Susquehanna River in these jurisdictions this would be a tremendous help to clean up the Bay. (see page8).

The Calvert County Circuit Court sided with the Department of Natural Resources in a in lawsuit filed by; Francis E. Abner vs. State of Maryland. Abner’s request for an equal allocation was withdrawn after the Count amended the complaint (see page 7). This would have caused any waterman that had purchased rockfish quota to lose their investment..

As of August 16th, 2017 NOAA critical habitat designation for Atlantic Sturgeon went into effect. It is unclear to us how the defunding by Congressman Harris’s amendment impacts this. A Bay Program teleconference will be scheduled to address this issue. Specific occupied areas designated as critical habitat for the Chesapeake Bay DPS of Atlantic sturgeon contain approximately 480 miles of aquatic habitat in the following rivers of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia: Potomac, Rappahannock, York, Pamunkey, Mattaponi, James, Nanticoke, and Marshyhope Creek. This may affect other areas within these states we are not sure at this time.

As a reminder, the 2017-2018 Commercial Tidal Fish License Renewal is underway and was due by August 31th without late fee. In addition, you must make your 2018 Striped Bass Declaration of Intent no later than September 15th, if you fail to declare by them you will have no recourse. After declaration has ended, you will no longer have the option of submitting a letter of appeal requesting a late declaration.

Multi-species fishery management is something the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissions has not used at this time. They look at one species at a time. This is causing an imbalance of predator fish in the Bay you have the Rockfish with the 20.5% reduction in harvest and a new comer the Invasive Blue Catfish, for example the Catfish harvest 10 years ago was about 50,000lbs, now it is over one million pounds on the Potomac River alone. Yes this has opened a new fishery these catfish are now in almost all rivers on the Bay and over harvest will not control the population. They feed on shad, perch, menhaden, rockfish, clams, etc. Some of these catfish are upwards of 70 lbs. As you can see our predator fish is increasing in the Bay. This is why we need a comprehensive multi-species fishery management plan from the ASMFC instead of individual species; it’s not working the way it is.

The Watermen’s Appreciation Day held at St. Michael’s on August 14th turned out to be a great day with Governor Hogan and many of the Eastern Shore representatives attending and greeting and meeting everyone. The highlight of the boat docking contest was a race between Gov. Hogan, Sen. Steve Hershey and Sen. Addie Eckardt.  Gov. Hogan won the race! The food was outstanding, the weather was great and everyone had an excellent time.

Trade Show is in full swing and coming along great. Truck Tickets are now available on our website and by calling the office. We are looking for another Commercial Workboat to showcase at the Trade Show this year. If anyone is interested please contract Victoria Brown at 202-580-9377.

Stay safe in your travels!

Robert T.

Top photograph courtesy of Jay Fleming

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