In a letter dated Nov. 11, Dave Smith, executive director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association–the state’s largest recreational angling group–took the first step.
Here’s his letter to the governor, Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin and Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell:
On behalf of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association (MSSA) and recreational anglers in the state of Maryland, I am asking for “Reallocation for Conservation” of the striped bass harvest from the commercial fishery to the recreational fishery. I am making this request in order to protect Maryland residents’ best opportunity to enjoy fishing the bay, the positive economic and social impacts of sportfishing in our state, and as a necessary conservation measure.
In recent times there is growing concern for the status of the health of the striped bass population as well as the Chesapeake Bay. This trepidation is not only being expressed by our membership, who regularly fish the Chesapeake Bay for this species, but is evident through some scientific indices and concerns being noted within the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and our own biologists within the DNR.