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Common-Sense Regs to Save Rockfish



    This is referencing Dennis Doyle’s August 28 column, Our Rockfish Future, on the declining population of rockfish in the Bay. What needs to be done is to apply some common sense to the fishing rules, but Maryland Department of Natural Resources, being a government agency, that may never happen.
    Here’s how one angler kills many striped bass during the trophy season, due to DNR’s regulations.
    A fish hits the lure, is brought in the boat, is undersized and gut-hooked. According to DNR, the fisherman must cut the line as close to the lure as possible and release the fish. Release to what? Death. The fish will slowly starve.
    Another lure is attached to the line, trolling resumes, and the process is (possibly) repeated until the angler gives up or a keeper is finally caught. Now at least two fish are dead: the one with the hook and the keeper in the box. Change the rules!
    If an undersized fish is caught and gut-hooked, keep the fish. That’s your fish for the day. If you get inspected and the officer can clearly see the fish would not have survived if released, there’s no fine. As they say, one fish in the box is worth two in the Bay. One more step may be to report the fish to DNR with a photo showing the lure, the size of the fish, location caught, etc., so the agency can keep accurate records.
    And while we’re at it, cancel the catch-and-release season altogether. There is no need to stress these fish any more than needed.  
    These simple changes may not solve the entire problem, but it’s a start.

–Allen Delaney, Prince Frederick