Wednesday, April 6, 2011
In 1990, Maine established a "special" regulation to protect valuable, local, Kennebec River spawning stocks until July first each season. Part of the regulations included a closed bait fishing and catch and release fishing within a defined border which included the Sheepscot River which is a little east of the Kennebec River and connected by tidal creeks.
The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA-a New Jersey based group represented by Barry Gibson in Maine)has requested that the Sheepscot River area be excluded from the ban.
Maine's Department of Marine Resources held a public hearing on the request where anglers, guides and organizations voiced their opinion on the change.
Lost on some people is the fact that the Sheepscot River was originally included in the special regulation to protect over wintering, spawning fish that were know to stage in that area. These are the big, spawning age females so valuable to the continuing effort to grow the Kennebec River striped bass stock.
During the allowed commercial striped bass fishing in Maine prior to 1990, there was a targeted commercial activity in late winter and early spring on the staging striped bass in the Sheepscot River.
Opening early season bait fishing in the Sheepscot River or the Kennebec River would be a disasterous event which will entice more angers to fish over these spawning fish as well as encourage poaching like we haven't seen in Maine for centries.
If Maine's DMR allows this request to go forward, the Kennebec River spawning stock will likely be fished out within a short few years and that will be the end of Maine's only self supporting striped bass fishery.
Contact Laurice Churchill at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To see the suggested regulation go to: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rulemaking/42.03m.pdf