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

First of all, I would like to send out a great big thank you to Governor Larry Hogan. The Maryland Watermen’s Association supports the MOU extending 4 years of County MDOT funding for the public oyster fishery and the additional $125,000 again many thanks. (see article on page 3)

Mother Nature has dumped record rain on us for a second time this season. The Conowingo Dam has 20 gates open and this is devastating to crabbers. The DNR will not enforce the time limits for removing commercial crab pots from the waters north of the Bay Bridge form July 25 through July 28. Licensees may keep crabs removed from crab pots during this period but may not return any pots to the waters after the legal stop time. I would like to thank the Department of Natural Resources for its quick response so commercial crabbers can salvage their gear.

These flood waters will more than likely curtail natural oyster strikes (set), as well as growth this summer. One of the problems with the water is that salinity is very low all over the Bay; the other is dissolved oxygen that comes from all the runoffs. Personally, the copper painted net on the pockets of my own pound nets, which are about 16ft down (about 2ft from the bottom), turned from red to black in a matter of days. They turned black, not because of dirt but the lack of oxygen in the water. They stayed that way for about two weeks. After a couple of windy days, they turned red again and I started to catch fish. This same dissolved oxygen will kill oyster, fish, crabs, etc. hopefully our oyster will survive.

It has been brought to my attention that some commercial oystermen have been harvesting oyster during the season and planting their catch directly on lease bottom without any inspection. Are all of these oysters of legal size? This need to be researched more!

There have been a large number of dead Rockfish floating on the Bay. Do circle hooks they really work or is it catch and release after sports fishermen catch their limits? If so, what can be done to correct this waste of fish? Seeing this makes me feel like the Native American on that old T.V. commercial from years ago. Remember him, with a tear coming down his check as he sees white men littering and polluting mother earth? Something needs to be done to correct such waste.

The MWA has just completed its membership drive, and I want to thank our many faithful members and all the new members that have come in over this summer. I am proud to say that the MWA is stronger than ever because of you, our support to the commercial fishermen of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Thank you again and if you have not joined yet please do.

The 45th annual East Coast Commercial Fishermen’s and Aquaculture Trade Expo will be held at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD January 18, 19, and 20, 2019. We are well on the way to filling up the hall. With the continued support from our loyal vendors and the addition of many new vendors, this year’s show will be even better than last year’s. Truck tickets will be available by the end of August. This year we are raffling off a 2018 Ford F150 XLC 4x2. Just call the MWA office 410-216-6610 to order your ticket or go on line to purchase. We are looking forward seeing you in 2019.

In addition, I would like to mention that the MWA will be selling raffle tickets for a three day entry to the next year’s Rockfish Tournament in Rock Hall. All proceeds will be donated to the prize for the highest accumulated three-day weight. They will be available on our website and will also be available at our upcoming events including the Trade Show. The guaranteed amount for overall three day weight will be announced in March of 2019. We will hold other fundraisers during this time to increase the purse. More information about them will be available in the months to come.

Stay safe in your travels!


Top photograph courtesy of Jay Fleming

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