2016: 20-inch striped bass and dying oysters
While our state should be commended for many efforts to sustain healthy natural resources in the Chesapeake Bay region this past year, the ridiculous 20-inch minimum-size restriction on har vesting striped bass for recreational anglers is not one of them.
The blame ultimately rests with the Department of Natural Resources, led by Mark Belton, which has failed to represent the many anglers who basically pay for its operation.
Anglers are generally hardy souls and continue to find some fish to catch that are legal table fare. Yet, the size restriction undermines the economy of Maryland and the wellbeing of its citizens as many anglers needlessly are forced to choose other more time-efficient activities.
Another resource management failure is the continued legal har vest of native oysters in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. This failure ultimately rests with the people of Maryland.
Robert Wieland, in a letter to the editor this week, described the politics of oyster management:
Resistance to Maryland’s give-them-what-they-want oyster management policy is taken to constitute a war on watermen. And anyone who dares voice the argument that we need to seriously limit wild oyster harvest is pretty well banned from oyster management discussions. Though, when you get the research scientists alone at a party they agree that, yes we need to close down the oyster fishery. And when you talk with the resource managers in private, they agree that a moratorium would probably improve the long-term prospects for the Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery (although they also tell you that they will deny that they ever said that). And even when you talk to ex-watermen, most agree that it is past time to give oysters a rest.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, a species is added to the Endangered Species list when it is determined to be an endangered or threatened species because of any of the following factors:
• the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
• over-utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; • disease or predation; • the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms;
• other natural or manmade factors affecting its sur vival.
All five factors apply to native oysters in Mar yland.
Wieland also stated in his letter that the oyster fisher y needs a “brave individual who will wade into this problem and keep messing about until he finds an answer.”
That brave individual could be Governor Hogan. Final firearm season The winter portion of the firearm deer hunting season opens Jan. 6 in Deer Management Region B, which includes all but the westernmost Maryland counties. Hunters with a valid hunting license may use firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer.
The season is open Jan. 6 and 7 in all Region B counties and Jan. 8 on private lands only in Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Washington (Zone 1) and Worcester counties. The season remains closed in western Maryland (Region A). Sika deer hunting season is open in all Region B counties.
“The winter season is a popular one as it provides another opportunity to hunt with a firearm after the holidays,” said Wildlife and Heritage Ser vice Director Paul Peditto. “The hunt helps us meet our deer management goals of reducing the population in the targeted counties.” Duck blind know-it-all The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidia-nus) is the largest salamander and largest amphibian in the world, reaching a length of 180 cm (5.9 ft).