Submitted by Ted Williams on Mon, 12/11/2006 - 10:33.
Stripers Forever members - Yesterday, Stripers Forever mailed the following letter to nearly 50 Maryland policy makers. Recipients include the Governor, House and Senate leadership, Department of Natural Resources committee members, fisheries management officials, and ASMFC representatives. Enclosed with the letter was a copy of the Maryland Southwick Study, and the briefer "Roadmap" which highlights the most important parts of the study. If you are a MD resident this would be a great time for you to approach your own state legislators and go over a copy of the Maryland Southwick Report with them. You can download it free on-line at this address http://www.stripersforever.org/info/southwickstudy. This page also has instructions for ordering printed copies. Also, if you are a non-resident who fishes the Chesapeake, or you live in a state that borders the Bay, a letter to Governor Erlich's office would be another important step. The state of Maryland spends lot of money promoting tourism. Tell the Governor how important quality striped bass fishing is to you, and that you travel to Maryland expressly to fish for striped bass. Urge Governor Erlich to consider the findings of the MD Southwick Study. You should also copy Howard King the state Fisheries Director. Here is a link to the MD state contact information http://www.stripersforever.org/Info/Stripers_MD/st.... No lobbyist has more impact with a politician than a constituent who can vote for or against him or her and who can organize others to do the same. In the words of the late Tip O'Neill, 55th Speaker of the House, "All politics are local politics". Let them know how you feel. Brad Burns Here is the letter: To: Maryland Policy Makers in Saltwater Recreational Fishing: Enclosed is a copy of the Maryland State Southwick Study as well as the Maryland Southwick Roadmap, a four-page summary of the study highlights. We on the Stripers Forever Board of Directors feel that the Maryland Southwick Study clearly presents the economic advantages that ending commercial fishing for wild striped bass would have for the State of Maryland , both in terms of financial benefits and jobs. The digital file for either document can be downloaded free on our website at www.stripersforever.org and printed copies can be ordered very inexpensively there as well. As you may know, 6 of the 12 coastal states from Maine to North Carolina have already made the striped bass a game fish, and manage this species much as they do wild game and freshwater game fish – for the benefit of the public who actively hunt or fish. We should do this coast-wide, if only for the economic benefits that can be gained. How can we say no to 1,031 net new jobs and $146 million in additional economic activity in Maryland alone? But there are many other good reasons, with social fairness and the conservation power of recreational/personal use fishing only regulations being at the top of the list. For a discussion of these concepts, please see “Why a Game Fish” on the Stripers Forever website. We are asking for more than your agreement though. We are asking for your active support.of legislation that would make striped bass a gamefish in Maryland. Already the great recovery of wild striped bass that followed their near obliteration in the 1970’s has stalled, and spawning stock numbers are sliding backwards. Coastal commercial quotas were recently increased by 40%, bycatch and illegal sales uncounted against quotas are rampant, and, as a result, guiding and tourism fishing businesses along much of the coast are beginning to suffer. You can read more about Stripers Forever on our website. When you do, please go to “Contact Us” and send us an e-mail. Lets talk about how we can work together to make the benefits outlined in the Maryland Southwick Study a reality. Sincerely, Brad Burns President, Stripers Forever