SPORTFISHERIES ADVISORY COMMISSION MEETING
Dave Dansberger James Gilford, Chairman
William Carrier, III Ed O’Brien
Diane Baynard Bill Windley
Richard Gaines Michael Critzer
Chairman Jim Gilford called the meeting to order at He asked the Commissioners how many planned to go on the fishing trip scheduled on Tuesday, May 24th. Three Commissioners planned to attend. Chairman Gilford then asked for any additions to the agenda; nothing was added.
Kenny Keen, Deputy Director of the Fisheries Service,
welcomed the Commissioners and guests.
He reminded the Commissioners that those going on the fishing trip were
to meet Commissioner Ed O’Brien’s boat at the Rod and Reel
Mr. Keen then spoke about the Seaside Coastal Bays
aquaculture issue. He said that hard
clam mariculture would be addressed at the September
SFAC meeting. He would like to plan a
site visit to an existing facility and bring in a speaker from
Commissioner Ed O’Brien asked about DNR’s perception of razor clams at the present time. Mr. Keen explained that they do appear to have a form of Dermo and Dr. Mark Homer of the Fisheries Service is currently studying the problem. Ms. Gina Hunt, Assistant Director of Legislative and Regulatory Programs, said that some areas are closed due to pollution and the clams are not available for human consumption. However, last year, some areas were opened for bait only. The clams were dyed blue to indicate that they were to be used solely for bait.
Mr. Keen told the Commissioners that there would be
public hearings held on power dredge areas on both the Western and Eastern
shores. The first meeting would be held
on May 31st at at
the County Commissioners Office in
Commissioner Diane Baynard had two announcements: 1) The CCA presented scopes and binoculars to the Natural Resources Police. Over $16,000 worth of products have been donated to the NRP from the MD CCA since 2001. 2) She also had a copy of an article about nuclear worms that she passed to the other Commissioners.
Sargeant Ditmar, NRP, spoke about the regulation for circle hooks in the Susquehanna Flats from March 1 to May 3. He said the officers found no violations of circle hooks at all. Commissioner Bill Windley commended the bait and tackle storeowners in the area, particularly Herb’s Bait and Tackle, for their efforts in educating and helping the public comply with this new regulation. Sgt. Ditmar gave a handout of the press releases of gill net violations. He then gave a brief overview of violations and cases that would be of interest to the Commissioners
Commissioner Richie Gaines had a couple of concerns that he expressed to Sgt. Ditmar. His first concern was over a growing population of shoreside fishermen on the Choptank River, north of the Dover Bridge, that are fishing for the large striped bass females. His second concern was that NRP officers around Calvert Cliffs area seem to be focusing on minor violations of boaters (for example, having smaller than the required 4” letters in the registration numbers).
Ms. Hunt said three packages had become final: 1) Crabs, effective 2/14/05, which was a “housekeeping” package; 2) Fish, effective 2/28/05, which allows NRP officers to require a second form of identification from a recreational fisherman when checking license holders; 3) TFL Authorization Targets, effective 3/14/05, which is an accounting of commercial licensing.
According to Ms. Hunt, the following packages have been
proposed: 1) Summer Flounder; effective
Commissioner Richard Gaines asked Ms. Hunt if she could give a summary of licenses that were suspended at a future SFAC meeting. Ms. Hunt agreed, and told the Commissioners that copies of the point system package were mailed to all license holders. Commissioner Baynard asked if a copy of the final package could be given to the Commissioners for them to look over. Commissioner Gaines agreed that a copy of the package that was sent to the commercial fishermen would be interesting for the Commissioners to see.
Steve Early, Assistant Director of Inland Fisheries,
gave an overview of recent occurrences in freshwater fisheries. He told the Commissioners about an outbreak
of fish “ick” at the Albert Powell Fish
Hatchery. Fish “ick”
is common throughout the state; it can be caused by stress. A few thousand trout were lost, but at
present, there is no evidence of “ick” in the
hatchery fish. To compensate for the
loss of these fish, additional trout were purchased from
The spring at Albert Powell Hatchery has been having some sediment problems. The Maryland Geological Survey has agreed to do a recharge area study to determine the origin of Albert Powell’s water supply. The study will be done over a three-year period.
Mr. Early said the Spring Trout Stocking was nearing
completion; only three sites were left to stock. More fish were stocked than originally
planned. 463,000 fish were stocked in
Inland Fisheries held their annual public meetings to discuss new proposed regulations for 2006. Chairman Gilford asked how the public response was. Mr. Early said that there were no attendees at the Eastern and Southern Region meetings. The attendance was typical at Frostburg, Greenbrier and Hollofield. The public’s comments were predictable along the lines of keeping fishing areas open. Mr. Early gave the Commissioners a printout of the comments that have been posted on the Fisheries webpage.
Mr. Early next discussed a huge problem in inland waters –
it is legal to use anything you can put on a hook for bait. He said that the audiences at the public
hearings said protect the waters; but they do not realize the gravity of the
problem. No regulation to change this
has been proposed at this point. Commisioner Windley asked
how many kinds of bait are currently being sold in
A handout of the proposed Inland Fisheries regulations for 2006 was included in the Commissioners’ folders. Mr. Early gave a brief synopsis of each of them: 1) Fishing Creek in Frederick County – the proposal modifies the description to more clearly define the Put-and-Take area that is stocked as the mainstem of Fishing Creek above the junction of the two forks; 2) Salisbury Park Pond – the proposal is to move the Put-and-Take area to Beaverdam Creek below Salisbury Park Pond to extend downstream to the bridge crossing at Memorial Plaza Road due to a problem with hydrilla in the pond; 3) Several modifications to Beaver Creek management were proposed, adding a mile, or so, to the Put-and-Take area, but problems have arisen with a couple of landowners. The proposal will be removed this year and the Department will try again next year to modify the description of Beaver Creek to clarify the area; 4) There is a proposal to add a section of the Patuxent River below Brighton Dam downstream to Mink Hollow Road and the Hawlings River from Brighton Dam Road downstream to the Patuxent River to the list of Catch and Return Trout Fishing, artificial flies only; 5) include all the ponds in Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area as Put-and-Take areas; 6) Remove Principio Creek from the list of Put-and-Take areas due to extremely limited public access; 7) Eliminate the culling of trout while fishing. (This proposal got tremendous support at the public meetings.) Mr. Early said the Inland regulations package will go to the Maryland Register in late June, early July.
Chairman Gilford expressed concern about the Inland
Fisheries program. He believes that
there is little effort from the Department to promote this program. He suggested that the Commission take a close
look at inland problems; he feels that the Commission has ignored the problems
in this program. Arranging a trip to
Mr. King asked for a quick tally on snakeheads this
year. Mr. Early said that 10 had
been caught, most of them by
Mr. King asked Bruno Vasta, the Governor’s appointee to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), to give an update on the May 9-12 ASMFC meeting.
Ø Striped Bass --the addendum was moved to the August meeting. Chairman Gilford, who is on the Striped Bass Advisory Panel for the ASMFC, gave his impressions from the panel meeting. He said that addendum 1 to the striped bass management plan is a major concern of the
management board and there was a great deal of
discussion about the work that needs to be done to implement the addendum. He believes that there are more problems than
the board thought there would be. Mr. Vasta commented that
Ø Weakfish – The management board is facing a dilemna. There was an addendum to address the decline in abundance.
Menhaden – A public hearing is to be held on
June 29th. Mr. King said
there is a cap at 106,000 metric tons. There was a question whether to make the
cap a 3-year average. He said that
Commissioner Windley thanked the Department for listening to
recreational fishermen and taking a tough stand with
VOLUNTEER ANGLER SURVEYS
Summer Flounder -- Marty Gary gave a background of the volunteer angler survey, which is in its fourth year. One thousand lengths from the Bay and over 4,000 from the Atlantic Coastal Bays have been received. This data set has been used to get smaller catch lengths adopted.
Striped Bass – Despite efforts to encourage participation, volunteer participation in this survey has dropped off dramatically.
Chairman Gilford suggested that local sports writers be contacted individually, as well as, through press releases; personal contact can sometimes make a big difference.
asked what research is being done by the Department to find out what is
happening to the striped bass in the
Chairman Gilford reminded the Commissioners that one of the functions of the SFAC is to advise the Secretary. He suggested that the Commission write an advisory to the Secretary on the status of striped bass in the Bay. Mr. King said a special meeting could be held to address this problem, to assemble the data and draft an advisory. Commissioner Baynard agreed that the problem needs to be addressed and dealt with, or the fishery will cease to exist in a few years.
Marty Gary gave a brief history of artificial reefs and the Department’s role. He said the Department would like to form a committee to formalize a reef plan. A discussion followed; the Commissioners felt that the Department should be the ones to run the program and asked what it would take to move the program from MES back to DNR. They agreed to work with the Department on this.
Mr. Gary had three areas that he discussed with the Commission: