Hopefully the Maryland striped bass fishing fans among us have been following the developments as the DNR has floated different proposals for the 2020 season. And hopefully you chipped in your own two cents as they took public comments, the period for which closed on March 18. Here’s what the DNR announced yesterday:
"The proposal calls for the 2020 summer-fall season in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries to be open May 16 through Aug. 15, and Sept. 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers would be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. The season would be closed on all other dates. During the closure period from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31, anglers will be prohibited from targeting striped bass, which includes catch-and-release, charter boats and commercial hook-and-line fishing. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption."
In plain English, this proposal most closely represents Option Two, which was put forth in the public comment period.
Interestingly, even as it mentions charter captains and mates not being permitted to keep fish, the statement does not specifically address the issue of charter anglers being able to keep two fish per day—while all other recreational anglers will be allowed to keep only one—which was one of the specifics outlined in Option Two. Nor does the rest of the DNR’s proposal released yesterday state the limit for charter anglers elsewhere. Giving the DNR and its communications office the benefit of the doubt and assuming this was an accidental oversight as opposed to an intentional omission, we’ll have to wait to be able to accurately relay the omitted information.
In any case, we anglers should feel good that we at least made our voices heard. In fact, during the comment period here’s the breakdown of what the DNR received:
- 1,252 comments in support of Option One
- 279 comments in support of Option Two
- 73 comments in support of Option Three
- 41 comments not choosing an option or indicating multiple options
Public comments clearly supported Option One an overwhelming manner. You recreational anglers stepped up to the plate and spent time and effort to let the public's will be known—even if it was to no avail.