Griffin Letter

CCA Maryland
ANNAPOLIS • BALTIMORE • GREATER WASHINGTON • KENT NARROWS • LOWER SHORE • MID-SHORE • NORTH ANNE ARUNDEL • PATUXENT RIVER • UPPER BAY
March 10, 2011
Via email to jgriffin@dnr.state.md.us
The Honorable John R. Griffin
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Secretary Griffin:
Although CCA Maryland was disappointed with the reopening of the February
striped bass gill net season, we were pleased to see the steps taken by DNR to
monitor the two-day fishery. Your commitment to reforming the gill net fishery
and challenge to the commercial industry to take a lead in doing so is highly
commendable, especially given your stated position that without significant
changes the fishery could be phased out. We look forward to having an open
dialogue with the Department and other stakeholder groups to identify the current
problems and possible solutions.
Unfortunately, the very act of reopening the fishery highlighted some substantial
long-term issues. The commercial industry has called for more intense and
frequent Natural Resources Police (NRP) patrols to help control the outlaws
within their ranks. However, illegal gill nets were set in February even with the
increased efforts of the NRP. Is there a place in Maryland for a fishery that so
easily lends itself to abuses while consuming such a high level of the
Department’s resources? Does the Department believe a fishery that requires
extreme levels of law enforcement, coupled with stationing DNR personnel at
check stations, is sustainable both from a manpower and financial standpoint?
CCA Maryland is also concerned that accountability, enforcement and
conservation issues may exist with the State’s pound net fishery. Handling nontargeted
fish while emptying pound nets may result in significantly high mortality
that is not fully understood. Pound nets set in the spring have the ability to catch
spawning striped bass, not to mention hickory shad, american shad and river
herring. Meanwhile, the Department expends considerable financial and
Secretary John Griffin, DNR
March 10, 2011
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manpower resources elsewhere protecting these very same species, the majority of which can’t
be commercially sold. We believe this bycatch needs to be considered to insure that managers
fully understand the overall impact that pound nets may have on the Bay. For these reasons,
CCA Maryland requests that the Department extend its analysis of the gill net fishery to include
the pound net fishery, and to make any appropriate management changes there as well.
As mentioned in our February 10th letter, we believe recreational anglers must also be
accountable for their role in the fishery. We believe the key to better accountability is better data
on angler effort. The Department’s new licensing system should facilitate the collection of userspecific
information and provide for more accurate angler surveys. However, we urge the
Department to devote more resources to additional and enhanced intercept surveys of
recreational anglers throughout the year. We also ask the Department to take the lead in
communicating the principles and benefits of careful catch & release fishing practices with
outreach and education to help reduce mortality rates.
Similar to how the Department plans to work with the commercial sector to reform that industry,
we look forward to working with you, your staff and other stakeholders to identify areas where
improvements can be made on the recreational side to insure we all enjoy the benefits of an
enforceable, sustainable and accountable fishery.
Sincerely,
Ed Liccione
Chairman
cc: Joseph P. Gill, Deputy Secretary
Frank W. Dawson, Assistant Secretary for Aquatic Resources
Thomas J. O’Connell, Director- Fisheries Service

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