Mary­land vot­ers sup­port ex­ist­ing pro­tec­tions for oys­ters

Record Observer - - SPORTS -

An over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Mary­land vot­ers across party lines sup­port main­tain­ing ex­ist­ing Ch­e­sa­peake Bay oys­ter sanc­tu­ar­ies, ac­cord­ing to a poll by a bi­par­ti­san re­search team com­mis­sioned by the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion.

Mary­land is con­sid­er­ing a pro­posal to open up nearly 1,000 acres of oys­ter sanc­tu­ar­ies to har­vest.

“Vot­ers un­der­stand the value of leav­ing a quar­ter of the state’s reefs closed to har­vest, so oys­ters can re­cover from decades of over­har­vest and dis­ease,” said Ali­son Prost, Mary­land Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of CBF.

The poll re­sults found 88 per­cent of Mary­lan­ders sup­port ex­ist­ing sanc­tu­ar­ies, two-thirds of those vot­ers “strongly.” The find­ings sug­gest strong sup­port across party lines, with 91 per­cent of reg­is­tered Democrats, 89 per­cent of In­de­pen­dents, and 82 per­cent of Repub­li­cans in sup­port.

The poll was con­ducted by a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Fair­bank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & As­so­ciates, a Demo­cratic polling firm, and Pub­lic Opin­ion Strate­gies, a Repub­li­can polling firm.

Three-quar­ters of Mary­land’s oys­ter reefs are open to har­vest­ing, un­der cur­rent reg­u­la­tions. A pro­posal be­fore the Oys­ter Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion would shrink the sanc­tu­ary ar­eas by 11 per­cent and en­large the har­vest ar­eas.

“Mary­lan­ders un­der­stand we must take the long view man­ag­ing our oys­ters,” said Prost. “That’s why it’s vi­tally important we wait for sci­en­tists to fin­ish their stock as­sess­ment.”

The poll found vot­ers un­der­stand the value of undis­turbed oys­ter beds. Fully 92 per­cent said that the abil­ity of those sanc­tu­ary reefs to fil­ter pol­lu­tants from the wa­ter and to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity was “ex­tremely” or “very important” to them. And 88 per­cent of vot­ers said they value the pro­tec­tion and habi­tat for fish, crabs, and other plants and wildlife that pro­tected reefs pro­vide.

HB924, be­ing con­sid­ered in the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, should be sup­ported. It leg­is­lates that sanc­tu­ar­ies can­not be re­duced or al­tered un­til a stock as­sess­ment re­port re­quired by SB937, passed last ses­sion, is com­plete.

At a pub­lic hear­ing on Fri­day, sup­port­ers of HB924 tes­ti­fied that oys­ter sanc­tu­ar­ies should be closed per­ma­nently not only to max­i­mize growth po­ten­tial but also to sup­port an in­crease in the over­all biomass of dis­ease-re­sis­tant oys­ters in mul­ti­ple ar­eas.

A sanc­tu­ary is a place where some­one or some­thing is pro­tected or given shel­ter. If they’re in a sanc­tu­ary, oys­ters should be left alone.

*** Gill-net non­sense SB554 should be op­posed since it’s un­nec­es­sar y leg­is­la­tion and seeks to in­crease the al­low­able stretched mesh size of com­mer­cial gill nets from 7 inches to 7.5 inches.

The in­creased size would likely in­crease the kill of large spawner fe­male striped bass. It would also in­crease the like­li­hood of killing the few At­lantic stur­geon left in the Ch­e­sa­peake.

As a coast-wide mi­gra­tory species, striped bass are man­aged in Mary­land by the DNR con­sis­tent with the pa­ram­e­ters set by the Striped Bass Man­age­ment Board of the At­lantic States Marine Fish­eries Com­mis­sion. Al­low­able fish­ing gear should con­tinue to be man­aged through reg­u­la­tion, and by DNR, con­sis­tent with the ap­proved ASMFC fish­eries man­age­ment plan.

*** Fish­ing re­port A full-blown run of yel­low perch is ex­pected any day now. White perch need a bit warmer wa­ter to spawn, but they too should be in up­per tribu­taries en masse in an­other couple weeks if weather con­tin­ues to stay mild.

Anglers are al­ready hav­ing some luck near Milling­ton in the Ch­ester River, on the Yel­low Bank Stream of the Cor­sica, the Tuck­a­hoe, and in the up­per Chop­tank ap­proach­ing Greens­boro.

On the Po­comoke, where wa­ter tem­per­at­ues are al­ready in the 50s, catch num­bers for yel­low perch, crap­pie, and pick­erel (up to 26 inches) con­tinue to grow. White perch should be ac­tive any day now. Blue gills and large­mouth bass are also get­ting ac­tive.

*** Duck blind know-it-all Egg-dump­ing, or “in­traspe­cific brood par­a­sitism” is com­mon in Wood Ducks—fe­males visit other Wood Duck cav­i­ties, lay eggs in them, and leave them to be raised by the other fe­male.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter@csknauss / email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.