Angling, Outdoors, and Conservation News Recap
Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional news and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts of the Chesapeake Bay region. Please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your organization’s news item or event listing considered for next week’s column. Per usual, here are direct links to the lastest, local fishing reports from Reel Chesapeake, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, and FishTalk Magazine. This week’s catch also includes…
Trophy Striper Season Opens May 1st
If you didn’t know already…striped bass season officially reopens on May 1st in most of the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. There are still closure areas, including the Patuxent, Choptank, Chester, and Nanticoke rivers, and upper portion of the Bay. For the first two weeks of May, many vessels will be trolling the main channel of the Bay with heavy gear hoping to hook into the one-fish-per-person, per-day limit (minimum size 35 inches). By May 16th, the minimum keeper size is 19″. But we’re hoping any striper hooked this time of year, especially the big breeders, are released. Visit Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ striped bass regulations for a refresher on where to fish, season dates, creel limits, and sizes, etc.
IGFA’s 2023 World Record Game Fishes Book Released
The 2023 IGFA World Record Game Fishes published by The International Game Fish Association is now available to members of the IGFA. First published in 1943, the 80th edition of IGFA World Record Game Fishes features a striking black marlin on the cover by renowned Australian artist and owner of Marine Graphics Ink, Nick Hannan.
As the world’s most definitive publication of recreational angling records and the organization’s signature membership benefit, the 2023 edition of IGFA World Record Game Fishes includes comprehensive information on all freshwater, saltwater and fly-fishing world records for All-Tackle, Line Class, Tippet Class, Junior & Smallfry and All-Tackle Length categories, including new world records set within the last year. To become a member of IGFA and receive your copy of the book, visit igfa.org/new-join.
Blue Water Baltimore Sues Fleischmann’s Vinegar
Blue Water Baltimore, represented by the Chesapeake Legal Alliance, recently filed suit against Fleischmann’s Vinegar Company, Inc. and its parent company, Kerry, Inc., for unauthorized discharge of pollutants into the Jones Falls stream, a tributary to the Baltimore Harbor and tidal Patapsco River. Concerns about the Fleischmann’s facility first came to light during a fish kill in September 2021. A second fish kill occurred in October 2022 near the facility at 1900 Brand Avenue in Baltimore. Both incidents, accompanied by a strong odor of vinegar, were reported to Blue Water Baltimore by residents.
Blue Water Baltimore has since documented ongoing acid discharges flowing through cracks and fissures in the concrete walls of the facility, directly into the Jones Falls, a violation of federal and state laws. “Fleischmann’s must stop these unpermitted discharges immediately,” said Alice Volpitta, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper with Blue Water Baltimore. “We are taking legal action today on behalf of our members so that we can protect and restore the Jones Falls stream.”
Blue Water Baltimore and Chesapeake Legal Alliance filed this suit under the federal Clean Water Act, which allows residents of an affected community to file suit against polluters in violation of the statute. Suits under the Clean Water Act require 60 days notice, which Chesapeake Legal Alliance filed Jan 17, 2023. “These pollution discharges are clear violations of the Clean Water Act, and we are exercising our legal right to hold Fleischmann’s and Kerry, Inc. accountable,” said Angela Haren, Senior Attorney at Chesapeake Legal Alliance. “We look forward to working with all parties including the Maryland Department of the Environment to stop the pollution immediately.” Photograph by Barbara Johnson of Blue Water Baltimore.
National Conservation Programs Get Major Funding Boost
The Department of the Interior announced that more than $146 million in funding has been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, providing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve or restore 242,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across North America – including Canada and Mexico.
The Commission approved more than $50.9 million in North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants that will be matched by more than $73.4 million in partner funds. In addition, the Commission approved more than $21.7 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve land on five national wildlife refuges across four states. The acquisitions will expand public opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and outdoor recreational access.
Additional information about North American wetlands and migratory bird conservation can be found on the Service’s Migratory Bird Program web page, where waterfowl enthusiasts, biologists and agency managers can find the most up-to-date waterfowl habitat and population information. Photograph of pintail taking flight at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge by Irene Hinke-Sacilotto/USFWS.
Star Spangled Partnership Announced
The National Park Service’s Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail (Trail) announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Sultana Education Foundation (SEF) to provide students from Maryland’s Eastern Shore with educational programs that connect them with significant regional events from the War of 1812 and the history of the Chesapeake’s waterways. While SEF has worked collaboratively with the National Park Service in the past, this project will expand Trail educational activities and includes the creation of classroom curriculum materials, teacher professional development programs, paddling programs on the Bay’s tidal tributaries and excursions to several notable sites along the Trail.
“We are excited for this partnership with Sultana Education Foundation,” said Superintendent David H. Moore of the Star-Spangled Banner Trail. “This program will provide immersive experiences and educate students from the Eastern Shore on the local history, heritage and natural environment as it relates to the national Trail story.”
“This program will be a wonderful opportunity for students to discover the hidden historical treasures in their local towns and waterways,” said Brad Hirsh, who will spearhead the partnership for the SEF. “Through a series of engaging field experience students will gain the skills to investigate the rich history found in their own communities.” Planning is underway and programming will take place during the 2023-2024 school year. Photograph by SEF/Chris Cerino.
New Restoration Manager for the Severn
This week, Severn River Association announced that Dr. Ben Fertig will join the organization as its Restoration Manager. He will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of SRA’s restoration programming throughout the watershed (e.g. green infrastructure), shoreline (e.g. living shorelines), and in the river (e.g. oyster restoration) and will report to the Executive Director.
“I am so excited about this opportunity to work throughout an entire tributary from the headwaters to where the river meets the Chesapeake,” Ben says. “I am eager to return to working in Annapolis and throughout the Severn River area where I spent my graduate school days researching sources of pollution to the Bay using chemical indicators in oysters. It feels like I’m returning home. I love that SRA uses sound science, community partnerships, and advocacy to drive its restoration priorities.”
In this newly created role, Ben will conduct preliminary site assessments, develop funding streams, draft requests for proposals for design and construction services, review bids, and work with the Executive Director to select contractors to ensure projects are appropriately designed, permitted, constructed, monitored, and maintained. He will administer project grants as required by individual grantors, manage the organization’s oyster restoration efforts, assist with watershed restoration planning, and engage volunteers. Learn more at severnriver.org.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s Creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to email@example.com.