Illegal Gillnets

This just in from Stripers Forever: Stripers Forever members – We recently saw this press release from the Maryland DNR, Striped Bass Gillnet Season Busy for MD DNR Police In summary, 71 illegal nets were found during the just ended three month striped bass gill netting season in Maryland’s portion of Chesapeake Bay. Imagine how many there really were. Beyond the more than 2,100,000 pounds of legally taken striped bass, the Chesapeake Bay commercial fishery has a very well documented illegal catch of stripers that makes the real total far higher. The use of gill nets also produces a sizable bycatch of not only finfish, but also - as documented in the press release - waterfowl. In addition all of the social inequities involved with continuing commercial striped bass fishing - on the coast as well as in Chesapeake Bay - it is simply wrong to allow instruments of indiscriminate killing like gill nets to be used anywhere, much less in an enclosed system like Chesapeake Bay. They will be used as long as commercial striped bass fishing is allowed in the Bay however, and there's a reason. Legal sized fish simply can't be caught in sufficient volume on hook and line to meet the quota. If you look at this link, http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/commercial/ha... and scroll down to the Hook and Line Landings chart, you will note that the commercial quota for hook and line is never approached month after month throughout the season. At the end of the season the 60% of the hook and line quota that remains uncaught is given over to the winter gill net fishery. Very soon we will be mailing the MD Southwick Study to political contacts and fishery managers throughout the Bay area. We will include a copy of this story to illustrate some of the abuses and side effects found in commercial fishing for striped bass.