Sum­mer floun­der min­i­mum size in­creased to 17 inches

Record Observer - - SPORTS -

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 ck­nauss@star­dem.com

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