5 March 2018
Heavily lobbied menhaden bill finally emerges
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) (2.28.18)
Commercial Watermen’s Caucus met February 26th. Read the meeting notes here: Commercial Waterman 22618
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Fishing and Boating Services
2018 Commercial Shark Catch Limits—Effective Feb. 24
The secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, pursuant to the Code of Maryland Regulations 08.02.22.04B, in order to comply with species management through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks, announces a new catch limit for large coastal sharks.
Effective 12:01 a.m. Feb. 24, 2018, the catch limit is 25 large coastal sharks per vessel per trip. Large coastal sharks includes all of the sharks in the aggregated large coastal and hammerhead management groups defined in the Code of Maryland Regulations 08.02.22.03A(6) and (7).
The species in the two management groups include: blacktip; bull; lemon; nurse; silky; spinner; tiger; and great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead
The National Marine Fisheries Service anticipates in-season trip limit modifications based on harvest. If modifications are made, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Service will follow with modifications for state waters. A new public notice will be issued if modifications are made.
Mark J. Belton
Secretary of Natural Resources
ASMFC Approves Striped Bass Changes in Maryland
The (Shirley, N.Y.) Fisherman (2/13/18)
Virginia Lawmakers Fight Over Menhaden Fishery
A battle over menhaden is underway in the Virginia General Assembly right now…Chesapeake Bay Magazine (2/20/18)
See this important report from WJZ TV (CBS) (2/19/18)
Conowingo Dam Spill Condition Hotline (877-457-2525)
Per the Conowingo Dam Spill Condition Hotline (877-457-2525), as of Monday, February 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm, there were 4 spill gates opened at Conowingo Dam with a river flow of 143,000 c
Clam Dredging: A Rebuttal to ShoreRivers by Marc Castelli
Chestertown Spy (2/15/18)
Omega Protein challenging menhaden catch limits on Chesapeake Bay
WAVY 10 (Portsmouth, Va.) (2/13/18)
Celebrating African heritage on the bay
Op-Ed by Vincent O. Leggett – Capital Gazette (1/28/18)
Invitation for Bids: Striped Bass Program Experimental Drift Gill Net Survey. Click Here for More
Delmarva Fisheries Association, Inc. (DFA), as a member of the National Coalition of Fishing Communities, has locked arms with fellow commercial seafood organizations nationwide in supporting Congressional reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) with reforms that enable both sustainable fisheries management and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities. In a January 31 letter of support to U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, DFA and other like-minded organizations advocate for greater flexibility in fisheries management, without compromising conservation.
Record cold weather in early January led to significant icing in large areas of the Chesapeake Bay. Icebreaking ships worked to keep shipping lanes free, and NOAA technicians responded to protect the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System buoys and sensors from ice. But the effects of this icing on the bay’s crabs, oysters, and finfish may take longer to play out.
Click here for Maryland General Assembly Commercial Watermen’s Caucus Meeting Minutes from January 22, 2018.
From MDNR Website: 2018 Commercial Atlantic Menhaden Quota and Season
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Fishing and Boating Services
2018 Commercial Atlantic Menhaden Quota and Season — Effective Jan. 1, 2018
The Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, pursuant to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 08.02.05.07A, B and F, announces the quota and season for the commercial Atlantic menhaden fishery. The annual total allowable landings of Atlantic menhaden for Maryland, as established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), are 9,002,733 pounds. The season is Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018.
The 2018 quota may be adjusted pending final 2017 landings and application of the 1 percent set aside for the 2018 fisheries. If the quota is adjusted, a new notice will be issued.
Mark J. Belton
Secretary of Natural Resources
Smith Islanders Mobilize Against Questionable Oyster Sanctuary Projects in Local Rivers:
December 18, 2017
This Petition was recently circulated, widely endorsed by local residents and submitted to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, DNR Secretary Mark Belton, State and local elected officials and various watermen associations. For more information, contact Dory Matarazzo (email@example.com).
Maryland Announces Comprehensive Oyster Restoration Plan
December 15, 2017
Breton Bay and St. Mary’s River Selected for Large-Scale Restoration;
State Pledges Investment in Manokin, Nanticoke and Severn Sanctuaries
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources today announced a comprehensive plan on oyster restoration, including its intention to recommend Breton Bay and the upper St. Mary’s River as the fourth and fifth tributaries to satisfy the state’s commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement goal of restoring native oyster habitat and populations in five tributaries by 2025.
The department’s selection complements ongoing large-scale oyster restoration activities in Harris Creek, the Little Choptank River and the Tred Avon River.
“Maryland is committed to restoring the oyster population throughout the Chesapeake Bay for both ecological and economic reasons,” Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “This keystone species builds the foundation of a healthy marine ecosystem, cleaning and filtering water, while also serving as the backbone of our fisheries-based economy, be it aquaculture or commercial harvesting.”
The recommendations will be shared with the Maryland Oyster Restoration Interagency Workgroup, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The department will also gather input from citizens, communities and stakeholders in an open and transparent public comment process.
Breton Bay intends to be restored with the assistance of the state’s federal partners while work in the upper section of the St. Mary’s River would be conducted by the state. All contracts for seed planting and substrate placement in the final two restoration sites will be competitively bid.
“These restoration recommendations strike the right balance between the environment and the economy by concentrating limited yet targeted resources on existing sanctuaries with the most potential for success, based on the best available science,” Belton said. “These two sites have the broad support of environmentalists and riverkeepers as well as county leaders and watermen.”
Along with its restoration selections, the state also plans to study and survey existing state oyster sanctuaries around Annapolis and the Lower Eastern Shore. For the first time, the department will design and develop oyster management plans for the Manokin, Nanticoke and Severn rivers to determine how the strategic use of state investment and resources, including seed, shell and spat, could spur natural oyster growth and reproduction.
Lastly, the department intends to move forward with developing a rotational harvest system, designating a seed study area, and renewing the state’s oyster shell collection and recycling programs.
The state’s oyster restoration plan was formed, in part, from feedback from the Oyster Advisory Commission, which includes academics, conservationists, legislators and watermen.
Articles of Note
Oyster Prices Drop, Watermen Take a Hit, Offer Solution,
WBOC, TV-16, December 6, 2017
‘Nobody anticipated’ oysters making a comeback; industry transforms
The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times, November 20, 2017
Trump Administration dives into fish fight
The Associated Press, November 21, 2017
US regulators boost Atlantic menhaden catch limits by 8%
undercurrent news, November 14, 2017
Watermen Happy for Small Win over Menhaden Regulation
WBOC16 TV, November 14, 2017
Fishery managers reject – for now – bid to manage menhaden for their ecological value
Bay Journal, November 14, 2017
Was Virginia wronged in a decision to raise quota for a fish called manhaden?
The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot, November 15, 2017
Oyster Restoration Hurting Watermen Boats
WBOC16 TV, November 15, 2017
Advancing Progress in NOAA’s Habitat Focus Areas
NOAA’s network of Habitat Focus Areas (HFAs) tackle a wide range of habitat issues, including reducing sediment and nutrient runoff, improving coral health, restoring salmon habitat, and preventing the spread of invasive species. Look back at several completed and ongoing keystone projects in Habitat Focus Areas in 2017 – including the Choptank River HFA in Dorchester County.
Recent correspondence from Virginia State Senator Richard Stuart to the Atlantic State’s Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) concerning Atlantic menhaden and pending Amendment 3 (10/31/17)
DFA Encourages DNR Secretary to Look Out For Maryland’s Menhaden Fishery
DFA corresponded this week with DNR Secretary Mark Belton about the upcoming ASMFC meeting and pending Amendment 3 concerning Atlantic menhaden. See the Letter to Secretary Mark Belton and ASMFC Amendment 3 Fact Sheet.