dnr

Currently browsing articles with a topic of "dnr".

I hang with a lot of fisheries guys. If I had to guess at the backgrounds of the people I’ve fished with most frequently, it would be (in order) coaching baseball, cutting meat, and studying fish. My brother is a fisheries biologist as are many of my friends. I was thrilled recently when a young fisherman who is still in high school reached out to me about his career plans, “I want to be a fish scientist,” he said. “I want to make a difference.” Obviously, I appreciate those guys and the science in which they work.

I looked up the term Fisheries Management and found this:  Fisheries management draws on fisheries science in order to find ways to protect fishery resources.

I like the phrase, “draws on fisheries science.” As a fisherman and a conservationist, I want management decisions based on facts, not politics, pseudoscience, or hearsay. I am a student of the collective knowledge acquired by fishermen. There’s nothing I’d rather hear than the recommendations of a seasoned angler or the sage advice of an experienced waterman. On the other hand, I work in a scientific profession, so I recognize that good science trumps folklore on every occasion. Read More!


I want to take a few minutes to update everyone on the continuing bizarre actions of The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) toward striped bass.  In my last entry,  I reported that, despite pending actions to reduce striped bass harvest by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), Chesapeake Bay fisheries managers – including those from the Potomac River and Virginia – have announced plans to increase harvest. They justify this with statistics showing more 18-inch fish in the Bay as a result of the 2011 spawning year class.  This flies in the face of pleas from anglers in Maryland and all up and down the Atlantic Seaboard for additional conservation of striped bass.  Simply put, at a time when anglers think we should be cutting back on a species in trouble, Chesapeake managers want to kill more.

The people of Maryland deserve more from the agencies who are charged with protecting their fish. Today, leaders from the Maryland Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) met with Fisheries Director Mr. Thomas O’Connell and others from DNR in an attempt to persuade them to reduce harvest, not increase it.  I am not optimistic.  There is even talk of reducing conservation buffers in subsequent years so Chesapeake states can continue to harvest at present levels.  In other words, they might try to get around ASMFC mandated cuts in 2015 by changing their accounting methods. We all understand the science behind the decision, but just because there are more young fish in the Bay from one successful spawning year doesn’t mean we should kill more, especially when stocks are threatened. I am including a letter CCA delivered below. Read More!


“Let’s kill as many as we can before we have to save them.” That seems to be the attitude of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  Tuesday, just before closing for a five day Thanksgiving weekend, DNR fisheries dropped a turkey on recreational striped bass anglers by announcing a 14% increase in harvest in the Chesapeake Bay.  At a time when striper stocks are steeply declining and states up and down the Atlantic seaboard face impending cuts mandated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), Maryland & Virginia are grabbing more fish.  Here’s a link to the press release and a quote:

Determination of the Available 2014 Chesapeake Bay Commercial Striped Bass Quota

For 2014, it was decided  that fishermen could safely harvest 8,652,528 pounds of Striped Bass – without detriment to the Bay  population. The previous year’s quota was 7,589,937 pounds and for the first time in many years the quota has been increased in the Bay. This increase of approximately 14% is attributed to a large number of fish from the 2011 year class (fish that hatch and enter into the population in a given year) which are just now reaching the legal minimum size of 18 inches.

I hope you find that as unbelievable as I do.  I’ve tried to keep fisheries politics out of this blog lately because I want to concentrate on the fun parts of our sport, but when something this egregious comes out, I think it’s important to spread the news and let our fisheries managers know just how pissed off recreational anglers can be.   Read More!


I’ve had my share of embarrassments in recent years. There was the time at a bluegrass show when, immediately after performing “How Many Biscuits Can You Eat,” I choked on a country ham sandwich. I’m the guy who tripped over the curb a while back as I stepped up to shake hands with the Vice President of the United States. I’ve fallen out of boats, pitched backward off barstools, stumbled up escalators, tumbled down stairs, and spilled enough drinks at public dinners to float the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry.  Some of my hall-of-shame moments have been painful, and others downright funny, but there’s nothing remotely entertaining about my most recent embarrassment. In fact, everyone in Maryland shares my latest shame. Last week, Chesapeake Bay anglers found and reported another fourteen hundred yards of illegal gill net containing more than three tons of dead and rotting fish. Add another nickname to the list that includes The Free State and The Old Line State:  Maryland – The Poaching State. Read More!