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

There is good and bad news on oyster season. First, the good news: oysters did not die this summer and we had oyster strikes in middle to lower Bay.  The bad news is oysters did not grow and the harvest will be low.  This is contrary to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Report that oysters have died.  Now white clams, on the other hand, have more mortality every year when water temperatures rise in summer. However the razor clam harvest this year has been up and white clams have rebounded over the past few years.  Now we have a problem with marketing these clams as many clam shuck houses are not in operation.

The coast-wide quota on eels has been exceeded by approximately 18,000 pounds. If the harvest goes over the quota at all this season it will trigger an individual quota for all states.  This would be devastating for the Maryland Eel Industry.  At the present time Maryland harvest 68% of the coastal quota.  These 18,000 pounds equals about 2% of the total for the coast.  This 2% is within a common sense management plan not a micro managed plan.  The DNR has requested a new addendum 5 which will hopefully address this issue and bring into play common-sense management which is long overdue.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Technical Committee report on the Rockfish is looking at lowering the bench mark, which is the target and thresholds that should allow us an increase in our quota.  In addition, they have asked the question “What do you want this fishery to look like?” in the future.  This is something we need to keep a close watch on.

The Mallow Bay National Marine Sanctuary was voted on by the Sports Fisheries Advisory Commission on October 26 and supported an 18 square miles section of River and it has no restriction on sports or commercial fishing.  The question is why should we give NOAA total control over our natural resources— fish, crabs, etc. —instead of allowing the Department of Natural Resources and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to regulate per their Jurisdiction over the fisheries as they do now? (see Maryland Assistant Attorney General Advice to DNR and Virginia's Attorney General Mallows Bay Opinion.)

Mark your calendar for January 12, 13, and 14, 2018 for the upcoming 44th Annual East Coast Commercial and Aquaculture Trade Expo, in Ocean City, Maryland.  If you have any questions please just call the office.  Also, don’t forget our online Tupperware fundraiser.  All proceeds go to MWA, so make sure to share with your friends  and family. Orders are made through Tupperware and are sent directly to you..

Stay Safe in your travels.

Robert T.

Top photograph courtesy of Jay Fleming

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