Voices From The Readers

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Protect Fisheries
Editor:

As you know, the Chesapeake Bay is our state’s greatest natural resource and a national treasure.  Because of its immense value to the citizens of our state and our economy, the region’s largest recreational fishing advocacy group, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association (MSSA), and Senator Kathy Klausmeier have joined forces to protect this great asset through the introduction of Senate Bill 1032  -  Fish and Fisheries – Prohibiting the use of gill nets for catching finfish within Maryland.

Gill nets are entanglement nets that have made headlines for more than a decade due to their destructive impacts on our marine resources.  The most recent headlines came last year where nearly 12 tons of illegally caught striped bass were pulled from the Bay forcing the Department of Natural Resources to temporarily shut down the netting season. These headlines follow previous incidents where 9.3 miles of illegal gill nets were found off of Rockhall in 2010 and an eight-year federal investigation yielded millions of pounds of illegally harvested fish from the Chesapeake watershed –3,500 yards = 10,500 feet = 1.98 miles.

Currently, the state of Maryland allows gill nets, ranging in size up to 3,500 yards (1.98 miles) in length, to be drifted.  Gill nets are positioned vertically in the water column, taking advantage of current, tide, and the movement of marine life as they get tangled in the nets. Despite the inherent destructiveness of the legal nets, their use also provides cover for those who wish to fish illegally, making the gill net fishery difficult to manage.  Illegal nets have even been prone to abandonment and left to continue to their devastating harm to our treasure. Last year an abandoned net was found by a recreational angler during the MSSA Spring rockfish tournament, months after the rockfish gill net season had closed.  It was over 600 yards long and had hundreds of pounds of decaying fish. Given that the Chesapeake Bay is home and the spawning grounds to the East Coast’s most sought after saltwater sport fish, the striped bass or rockfish, and numerous other important fisheries including some endangered species, there is absolutely no reason to allow this gear-type in Maryland, according to the advocacy group.

Economically, the Bill offers the protection of our resources to better secure the thousands of jobs provided to the state through both our recreational and commercial fisheries.  Recreational fishing alone has a $1 billion economic impact to the state of Maryland and provides nearly ten thousand jobs.

While the bill does eliminate one particular commercial gear-type, there are numerous other gear-types that watermen use to effectively and legally harvest fish, such as pound nets, fyke nets, haul seine, cast nets, and of course hook and line. Additionally, prohibiting gill nets only stands to ease management burdens on the Department of Natural Resources, who is facing a $3.2 million dollar deficit in 2013. The MSSA believes that between the cost recovery and harmful effects gill nets have on our marine resources, prohibiting the use of gill nets seems like the logical step, a step that some other states have already implemented.

As your constituent, I ask that you support SB 1032.
George A. Purnell
Ocean City

Steiner Show May
Clear Up Confusion
Editor:

Thank you for your article on the update of the lawsuit of Waterkeeper Alliance vs. Perdue-Hudson. It has been some time since the press has covered the issue, and unfortunately most of it has been against the merits of the case. It is also disheartening to hear automatic support from our delegates and senators going to Perdue before any facts of the case are heard.

The Assateague Coastal Trust and Waterkeeper Alliance are nonprofit bodies who advocate for the public good. Our mission is protection of the coastal bays and promotion of cleaner water for all of us.  We have no Super Pac like the Farm Bureau. We have no treasury like Perdue profits. We have no political agenda to win votes like our Senators and Delegates. And we certainly would not bring a lawsuit to bear against Perdue with “trace amounts of chicken litter”.

I urge you and your readers to go online and listen to the Marc Steiner Show on Public Radio,Feb 23,2012: http://www.ondelmarva.org/ Sound Bites on Delmarva:Week 9. This will hopefully bring to light some misconceptions the public has about the case. At the end of the day, we all want clean water, and to do that we need to acknowledge the elephant in our living rooms. Or more accurately, the elephantine pile of manure in our backyards and who owns it. Let the discussion begin.

Mary Ochse
Bishopville

Process Overlooks Much
Editor:

Based on recent debates. I believe we have a problem with our present selection process that’s used to determine a candidate for an elected office. The final candidate generally is determined by his wealth and special interest groups. This process overlooks a major factor, their core values and beliefs. It’s this factor that allows the public insight into the person’s true character. We have to find a way to determine these factors.

Maybe if we look into what they’re presently involved in, who they hold close as friends and associates, what organizations they belong too, their education and sometimes their own words we might gain some insight to the person. Also, we have to know and consider their believe in this nations guiding principle: our Constitution.

Presently we have a man in the Presidency that the media completely overlooked the organizations he belonged too, the people he considered friends and associates, the work he had been involved in and his own words which were clear indicators of his core beliefs. He’s been a member of a church whose core teaching grew out of the Civil Rights movement of the 60′s. It’s based on Karl Marx concepts of large government, class oppression and massive wealth redistribution. How can Mr. Obama swear to uphold and protect our Constitution if his core beliefs are opposed to the concept? Mr. Obama’s not a bad person he’s just the wrong person to lead our country.

Now we have people vying for the position of president from the Republican party. The selection process is going forward and it seems to be based mostly on their money, contacts and government service not their core beliefs. This could be the reason people are having such a difficult time deciding on a specific person. Maybe if we made changes in the financial benefits and long term retirement payments of the position we might have fewer people running for the position but a better selection of candidates who truly care about this country. It also might break the cycle of lobbyist and special interest groups that presently seem to control the overall process.

This year’s election is critical as to the direction this country will take in the future. If we elect Mr. Obama again I think it’s obvious in which direction we’ll go. Now is the time to make the needed changes that will put this nation back on the right track correcting the mistakes of the past. It’s either that or we end up with a European type Socialism. The choice is ours. I hope and pray for the sake of our children, grandchildren and the world at large we make the right decision. It’s an election year. Get out and vote. Stand up for America.

Paul St. Andre
Ocean City

Country At Crossroads
Editor:

Does anyone else have a problem with the deliberate, targeted assassination by our government of an American citizen? He wasn’t arrested, charged, or tried, he was just killed. I know few Americans had any sympathy for the terrorist Anwar-Al-Alwaki, but he WAS an American citizen due all rights under our Constitution, i.e., that little thing called “due process”. I have read Attorney General Holder’s March 5th speech, searching in vain for legal justification for such an act. I read a lot of excuses and doubletalk about precedent, and implications of expediency, but no constitutional justification. Keep in mind that this is the same Administration that believes the foreign terrorists who planned the 9-11 attacks should be tried in our civilian court system and granted all rights due to American citizens.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. This same Administration decided on its own that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, so it wouldn’t enforce it (and anyone who objects is labeled “homophobic”).

This is the same Administration that couldn’t pass “Cap and Trade” legislation or The DREAM Act, even though it had Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate, so it decided to implement the laws it couldn’t pass through EPA rules administered by un-elected bureaucrats (and if you disagree, you want “dirty air and water”), and in the case of the DREAM Act, by refusing to enforce our immigration laws (and if you object, you’re, of course, a “bigot”).

This is the same Administration that ordered Catholic institutions (colleges, hospitals, etc.) to pay for female employees’ birth control, including the abortifacient “morning after pill”, and sterilization. Again, it doesn’t matter to the Administration whether or not this violates the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church and therefore is a violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution. In the uproar that ensued, the Administration had to back down and announced that it would order insurance companies to give birth control to these women free of charge. So now the government has the power to tell private companies they have to provide a product for free? (And, of course, anyone who objects is engaging in the “GOP War on Women”).

Our beloved America is at a dangerous crossroads. Either we are a nation of laws, or we are a nation ruled by men, subject to the whims and ideology of whoever happens to be in power at any given time.

Carol Frazier
Ocean Pines

2 comments on “Voices From The Readers

  1. When did The Dispatch, the most popular and widely read paper in OC, become a forum for national politics? Local political coverage is expected, but does rambling rehetoric (based on limited knowledge of politics, not to mention facts, really deserve space in Letters to the Editor?

  2. Dear Editor,
    Regarding proposed gillnet ban;
    Gillnets have been used since before the birth of Christ, whose disciples used them. From Ocean City, Maryland, fishermen use them primarily to harvest abundant spiny and smooth dogfish, rockfish and bunkers for bait. All of these species, except bunkers, are under strict quotas. Rockfish cannot be harvested outside of state waters.
    These fisheries contribute millions of dollars to our economy, feed people who have no private access to seafood and do no harm to natural resources. A net ban would put thousands of people out of work, not only fishermen, but truck drivers, seafood dealers, marine mechanics, etc.
    The ignorant media exaggerated the crime of illegal nets in the Chesapeake Bay. State regulations ban one method of gillnetting in the bay. Same nets, one uses anchors, one doesn’t. Sometimes one method catches better than the other. I have no idea why one method is banned.
    Sport fishing groups have wanted all gillnets and trawlers banned from state waters for years. They believe sport fishermen would get the entire state rockfish quota for themselves and the rest of the public would have no wild-caught rockfish.
    Some of these sport fishermen are well off and have no understanding of the effects of their proposed ban on working people. They claim they want to save the resource and that fish are being landed illegally. Dogfish and rockfish have been increasing in numbers for decades. Yet the commercial fishing for dogfish was stopped for years and the commercial quotas for rockfish have not been increased, while recreational catches have increased. Resources are healthy. Considering the greater numbers of sport fishermen versus commercial fishermen, there is considerable illegal sport fishing. If you were going to ban something because some practitioners break the law, we wouldn’t have a congress.
    Sincerely,
    Beverly Rae Lynch

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