A Grass Roots Petition to Ban Gill Nets
Jerome Collier of Severna Park has initiated an online petition (http://www.petitiononline.com/yrrejmaj) to halt the use of gill nets. Collier says his goal is not to stop commercial fishing but to urge Maryland Department of Natural Resources to shift this rockfish allocation to a more manageable method of harvesting.
Gill nets have been prone to abuse, and hence outlawed, almost everywhere they have been used commercially. One remarkable thing about this petition, other than the fact that it has drawn thousands of signatories virtually overnight, is that signers are from up and down the East Coast. That emphasizes Chesapeake Bay’s role as the striped bass nursery of the Atlantic, so our actions have an impact far beyond Maryland shores.
The idea of transferring the allocation is well worth considering. DNR has a seriously insufficient capacity for monitoring a gill net fishery, especially given the enormity of their other duties.
Oyster Poaching Continues
In defiance of DNR, and apparently trying to take advantage of Natural Resources Police’s distracting search for illegal gill nets, six commercial fishermen from the Eastern Shore were recently apprehended poaching oysters on state sanctuaries on the Corsica River. Trial is set for April 6 in Queen Anne’s District Court.
And Then ...
Last week yet another illegal, anchored gill net, this one measuring 1,200 feet and loaded with dead rockfish, was located by NRP officers just south of Kent Island. It just keeps going on and on ...