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DNR Adopts New Yellow Perch Regulations
ANNAPOLIS, MD — After consulting with many stakeholders over the past five months, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has finalized new yellow perch regulations, as directed by Senate Bill 702. The final regulation modifications reflect comments received from the public. The new regulations are designed to enable more yellow perch to reach critical spawning areas, restrict nets in key spawning tributaries, and more equitably allocate harvest between recreational and commercial anglers.
“These efforts represent another step in our multi-year endeavor to develop a new, more sustainable yellow perch management plan,” said Acting Fisheries Service Director Harley Speir. “DNR will continue to review the objectives and strategies in the Yellow Perch Fisheries Management Plan in the coming months and use this revised plan to frame the regulatory proposal for 2009.”
The new regulations prohibit the use of fyke nets in tributaries upstream of any point of less than 200 feet in width during February 2008 and extend the prohibition on commercial harvest and sale of yellow perch through to March 14. This aims to enable yellow perch to migrate to historical spawning rivers and streams. Additionally, DNR designated two restoration creeks, McIntosh Run off Breton Bay (St. Mary’s County) and Northeast Creek off Northeast River (Cecil County), where recreational harvest and commercial harvest will be prohibited from February 1 through March 31. Yellow perch populations show positive signs of recovery due to natural and anthropogenic restocking efforts in these areas. The harvest prohibition aims to accelerate the recovery evidenced in those creeks. The regulations also remove the barbless hook requirement because it has been ineffective.
Public components of developing the new regulations included public meetings, a public hearing on Dec. 19, an extended public comment period, and an independent review by the Sport Fish and the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commissions.
Based on the feedback received, DNR modified the proposed regulations by applying to the “no take” portion of the regulation the March 14th date already proposed in the “no sale” prohibition. The proposal was also modified to put the February closure back into the regulation to guarantee that a season closure remained beyond 2008 in case additional regulations were not proposed for 2009. Additionally, based on the public’s concern for fishing at the initially proposed 8 ˝ inch minimum creel size, the final regulations reestablished a 9 inch minimum recreational size.
The regulations will apply to the 2008 season and will take effect on Jan. 28, 2008. The final regulations will appear in the Maryland Register on Jan. 18.
January 17, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov