Coastal Conservation Association Maryland
For further information contact:
Tony Friedrich, 202-744-5013
January 27, 2012
CCA calls for cost recovery and equity
The Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) today called upon the State of Maryland to develop a comprehensive process for recovering the costs of managing its commercial fisheries, including the commercial gill net fishery that saw a number of significant violations of marine resources law last year.
All fishing in Maryland—both commercial and recreational—is supported by a combination of license and permit fees, federal angler taxes and direct grants, and state revenue. DNR has determined that 93 percent of the cost to manage recreational fishing is supported by license fees and federal angler taxes. However, only 20 percent of the cost of managing commercial fisheries is covered by license and permit fees, with an additional 23 percent covered by direct federal grants. The rest comes from Maryland taxpayers in the form of General Funds.
“As the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is facing a budget shortfall of $3.2 million beginning in October, 2013, and the cost of managing commercial fisheries continues to rise because of illegal activities, it’s imperative that new ways be found to fund this fishery,” said Tony Friedrich, CCA MD executive director.
“It’s time that the general public is no longer asked to subsidize more than half the cost of managing and enforcing these commercial fisheries,” Friedrich said. “This fishery must be funded by those who are making money from it—the commercial fishermen.”
Last winter and spring more than 13 tons of striped bass were captured in illegally placed nets, resulting in DNR closing the season for a period of time. In developing new regulations to better monitor and enforce the commercial striped bass fishery, DNR identified the massive shortfall and inequity in the amount of money contributed by commercial fishermen towards the resource as compared to recreational anglers.
CCA MD’s Government Relations Committee adopted a position last fall calling for the commercial gill net fishery to support itself or be closed. The position stated, “CCA Maryland strongly believes the user and financial beneficiary of the fishery should bear the responsibility for its management costs. If that can’t be done and taxpayers or recreational anglers are asked to continue covering that shortfall, then we believe the gill net fishery must be ended in favor of other fishing methods that can be shown to be manageable, accountable and enforceable.” Given the massive inequity identified in all commercial fisheries, CCA Maryland believes the same concept must be applied to all commercial fisheries.
“So far, we have not seen any indication that the fishery wants to sustain itself,” Friedrich said. “It’s time to stop asking Maryland’s taxpayers to subsidize this fishery, stop talking about the issue, and start acting in a manner that provides results. The State has a responsibility to all its citizens to assure that costs for the commercial fishery are borne by that industry.”
The Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) is one of 17 state chapters of the Coastal Conservation Association, which has 100,000 members nationally. CCA MD is an organization of recreational anglers fighting for Maryland’s marine resources and believing the sustainability of the resource must be the priority in any fishery management decision.