Summer flounder minimum size increased to 17 inches
Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia will have a 17-inch minimum size for Summer Flounder in 2017 with a four-fish bag limit and a 365-day season under the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s new regulations.
The oneinch increase in size limit was deemed necessary to remain compliant with the Fisheries Management Plan and to protect the summer flounder resource from overfishing. Harvest reductions were based on recent stock assessment updates that determined the summer flounder population is experiencing excess harvest that could result in a detrimental population reduction. Although spawning stock biomass is above the target threshold, juvenile production has been below average for the past six years.
New Jersey will have a 19-inch minimum size limit, a three-fish bag and a 128-day season along the Atlantic Coast. In Jersey’s portion of the Delaware Bay, the minimum size drops to 18 inches with the same three-fish bag and 128-day season.
Harvest reductions are also necessary in the coastwide commercial fishery, but those reductions are achieved through quotas and monitoring.
In Maryland, an individual licensed to catch fish for commercial purposes may not catch or possess a summer flounder that is less than the recreational size limit if caught by hook and line. Therefore, the commercial hookand-line minimum size for summer flounder is 17 inches in all Maryland state waters, which is fair and ethical, unlike the current rules for striped bass. *** Shooting sports workshops You can sign up now for a free Shooting Sports 101 workshop scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on May 6 at the Talbot County Rod and Gun Club on Chapel Road in Easton. The goal of the program is to provide instruction for novice hunters and shooters so they will feel comfortable moving forward in shooting and hunting sports as a result of their experience in the workshop. The workshop is designed to be as handson as possible, giving participants enough knowledge to further pursue their interests once the workshop is concluded. Hunter safety certification is NOT required before taking the workshops.
All ages are welcome with a course limit of 30 shooters.
The workshop will cover the general aspects of shooting sports, particularly skeet shooting, firearm safety, range safety, and conclude with a livefire segment. Registration closes on April 28.
The workshop is paid through a $25,000 grant to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources from The National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Registration is available on the DNR website. For more information, contact Christopher Markin, Natural Resources Biologist, 410-221-8838 x105, Christopher.markin@ maryland.gov.
* * * Failure to appear A Cambridge man with a history of natural resources violations has been permanently banned from harvesting oysters by an administrative law judge.
Todd Hamilton Ruark, 36, was cited by officers for power dredging in a hand tong-only area of the Tred Avon River on Dec. 13 and again Dec. 19.
At a revocation hearing earlier this month, Ruark claimed he unintentionally violated the hand-tong boundary when strong tides pushed his workboat into the reserved area. He told Judge Thomas Welshko that he deserved leniency because he had not encroached very far into the hand-tong area.
After hearing from the officers and watching a video, the judge disagreed. He called Ruark’s testimony not credible and noted that he was caught more than a football field-length inside the restricted area. The water, he noted, was calm.
“I conclude that on both dates, [Ruark] knew where the hand tong-only line was and intentionally crossed it to harvest oysters using a power dredge,” Welshko wrote in his ruling.
In December, Ruark was charged with nine additional violations stemming from illegal oyster harvesting. He was issued citations for: exceeding his daily catch limit by three bushels; harvesting oysters after hours; possessing untagged oysters; four counts of failing to store oysters in the proper containers; selling oysters on the internet without a dealer’s license; and selling oysters without a state health certificate.
He failed to appear Thursday in Talbot County District Court.
*** Duck blind know-it-all A day after hatching, Wood Ducks can swim and find their own food. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at email@example.com