Tuesday, September 25, 2012
CCA MD calls for commercial industry to clean up its mess
The Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) today called upon its members to contact Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary John Griffin asking that the commercial industry be held accountable for the costs of its fishery.
DNR is developing a report to the General Assembly in which it will recommend ways to cover a $1.6 million shortfall in its Fisheries Service. The Assembly is expected to act on the recommendations in the coming session.
"The commercial industry has created a fiscal mess through illegal gill nets and continued oyster poaching during the past two years," said Tony Friedrich, CCA MD executive director. "These actions have resulted in increased enforcement costs for DNR and contributed greatly to the shortfall, let alone brought damage to fisheries. Now is the time to hold the commercial industry accountable."
CCA MD asked members to make four points in communicating with Griffin-
• The commercial industry must be held accountable for the full cost of managing its fishery, including added enforcement costs associated with illegal gill nets, striped bass fishery management issues, and never-ending oyster poaching;
• The Department must recommend that the shortfall be covered by either cuts in programs for the commercial sector, higher fees for commercial fishing, or a combination of both;
• General funds must not be shifted or wrongly allocated to make up for the commercial industry's refusal to pay its own way; and
• Conservation and water quality programs that benefit all of Maryland's citizens must not be cut to cover the commercial industry's shortfall.
"CCA believes that DNR must not cut critical services that benefit recreational anglers and all Maryland citizens if the commercial industry refuses to pay its own way," Friedrich said. "It's time to hold commercial fishermen responsible for the mess their industry has created."
Tony Friedrich, 202-744-5013