CCA Maryland Opposes Changes to Commercial Live Sale of Yellow Perch

The following comments were sent to Maryland DNR as part of the regulatory scoping process on 10/29/2018.  More information on the fisheries rule-making process can be found on the DNR “Changes to Fisheries Regulations” website.

October 29, 2018

Via email only to: fisheriespubliccomment.dnr@maryland.gov  

RE: Comments for Proposed Changes to Regulations the Sale of Live Yellow Perch in the  Commercial Fishery

CCA Maryland Position: OPPOSE

CCA Maryland firmly believes that DNR staff should remain as an independent witness that can verify the quantity of live yellow perch sold in a transaction.

The yellow perch Fishery is one that is very sensitive to environmental changes and a loss of habitat in various river systems in the Chesapeake Bay. Yellow perch, and the other “panfish” species commonly caught with them are extremely important to recreational anglers throughout the state, and provide value to numerous local businesses and communities that pursue these fish throughout the year.

While the management of the commercial harvest of yellow perch has improved over the last many years, this proposed action will loosen regulations put in place to act as a deterrent of illegal activity.  It is assumed that the vast majority of both recreational and commercial fishermen follow rules, and respect the resource, but a check of NRP activity proves that there are still some that cannot follow the rules.  It is known that when a monetary benefit exists for stretching the rules, it is more likely that rules will be stretched.

The simple oversite like the involvement of DNR staff in a commercial exchange will provide an accurate accounting of the sale of the fish which can help ensure that the public resource is being used in a legal and sustainable fashion, consistent with the rules and regulations of Maryland.

During the yellow perch work group meetings, DNR Staff indicated that they have never missed a request to witness live sale, and unless further proof is provided of major hardship to the industry, this oversite should continue.

To discuss our position on these matters further please contact David Sikorski, Executive Director at davidsikorski@ccamd.org or 443-621-9186