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Day 34 – Striped Bass Fishery

This weekend, to celebrate the Senator’s wife’s birthday, Karin and their children came to Annapolis.  On Saturday morning, the Baileys ate breakfast at Chick and Ruth’s Delly, where the children led the Pledge of Allegiance.  The Baileys spent the day touring and shopping around the State’s Capital City.

Today, Senator Bailey met with members of the Sierra Club from Southern Maryland who were in Annapolis for their annual Lobby Night.  The group discussed environmental legislation pending before the General Assembly this session with the Senator.

Tomorrow, Senator Bailey will be presenting a bill to improve data for the recreational striped bass harvest in Maryland.  As our State’s fishermen are aware, unfortunately, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has imposed an 18% reduction on the recreational striped bass harvest for next year.  One contributing factor to that is a lack of accurate recreational harvest data.  Senate Bill 882 – Recreational Striped Bass Fishery – Study on Harvest Data would require the Department of Natural Resources to conduct a study on methods of obtaining more accurate harvest data for the recreational striped bass fishery.

In 2014, the General Assembly passed similar legislation requiring a study on harvest data for the recreational striped bass fishery.  The report found that the recreational harvest estimates provided for the Maryland striped bass fishery were appropriate for management and altering or substantially augmenting the existing methods would be costly and not guarantee sufficient increased information to impact management strategies.

Senator Bailey believes that it is time for the Department to take another look at how it estimates this harvest data.  Since the 2014 report, the statistics that we have based on current measures of the recreational striped bass harvest include a significant amount of error.  Effective management of the striped bass fishery requires accurate catch data for both the recreational and commercial harvest.  What we currently have available from the Department of Natural Resources to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the governing body who determines the allowable harvest for the State of Maryland, on the recreational data is outdated.  This updated study will review changes since the 2014 report and determine the best suited, feasible alterations that can be made to the method of reporting the harvest data which would give us more accurate data.