Update on Man O War Shoal from 2/13 OAC meeting

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Photo credit: Bay Journal/Virginia Marine Resources Commission

2/14/2017

David Sikorski, Executive Director CCA Maryland

An update on the status of the application to dredge Man O War shoal’s fossil shell was presented at the meeting of the Oyster Advisory Commission (OAC) on February 13, 2017. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources(DNR) reported that the timeline provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a decision is three to four months after DNR provided their most recent answers to questions. The original deadline for the answers was April 1st, but DNR handled the request faster than required and sent the answers to the Corps early this week.

DNR has posted the most recent details of the application on their website

CCA Maryland continues to stand against the dredging of fossil shell from Man O War Shoal.   

While some OAC members believe that Man O War shell will provide a future for the industry, CCA Maryland disagrees.  Among many reasons, we are concerned about the lack of accountability for shell that was already dredged over a 46 year period, using untold amounts of public dollars in the process.  We do not support the removal of one of the upper bay’s last great shoals for a short term, and costly fix for a lack of shell.

This past December, CCA MD sent a letter to Gov. Hogan as a reminder of why past efforts to dredge fossil shells were previously abandoned, and why the majority of citizens and stakeholders disagree with the dredging of Man O War Shoal in the future.

It should be noted that the OAC discussed an interest in finding other sources for shell in other areas of the bay, and we remain open minded, and willing to discussing these options.  We note that Maryland has a shell problem, and remain committed to work through discussions with varying stakeholder groups to find a solution to the problem, but in no way support a return of fossil shell dredging to the upper bay.

*The OAC also discussed a “straw man” proposal for future changes in the state’s oyster sanctuary plan.  The “straw man” proposal is based on the input of a number of stakeholder groups, and was prepared by DNR in an effort to provide a plan for the OAC to focus on.  The “straw man” is a draft document that includes the classification of new sanctuaries, declassification of previous sanctuaries, as well as proposed rotational harvest areas.  CCA Maryland will be reviewing this proposal, and providing our thoughts to ensure that recreational fishermen can provide input into any proposed plan as the OAC continues to advise DNR on future oyster management efforts.   

** Straw man proposal is available HERE