Maryland commercial gill net season opened today and was met with high winds, tides and waves. Seems as though all the anticipation, preparations and gearing of net will have to wait at least one more day before our Rock Hall watermen can get out on the Chesapeake to fish. On the bay front, waves were crashing over our docks and bulkheads popping boards and leaving much of our town covered by the tide surge.
Gill net season has been closed since February 26 of this year. Larry Simns, President of Maryland Watermen’s Association and Rock Hall resident says, “In Maryland, gill nets are strictly regulated as to amount, mesh size, hours it can be fished and how it can be fished. Only drift nets limit the amount of fish you can take in one day and within the seasons.
For rockfish, all fish have to be tagged with a gill tag and checked in every night so that if the quota is filled the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can close the season by the next morning. It takes from two to four crew members to handle the work involved on a gill net boat. Rockfish gill net season starts December 1 and runs though February. Perch gill net season runs from the first of November through June.
It’s in our hands as commercial fishermen to bring fresh and legal product to the market and also keep an eye on everyone that is fishing and impacting the bay and our industry.”
Please remember to eat and look for fresh local rockfish in our Rock Hall seafood retail rooms, showcases and restaurants this week and until February.