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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
February 23, 1996     Cape Gazette
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February 23, 1996
 

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CAPE GAZETrE, Friday, February 23 - February 29, 1996 - 45 State expands commercial striper season The commercial fishing season for striped bass is about to be ex- panded dramatically. Roy Miller from the Division of Fish and Wildlife said that commercial fishermen can take 146,660 pounds of fish tin 1996, most of it during March and April. Commercial fishermen were only allowed to take a total of 42,334 pounds of the fish last year. But Miller said he does not think the dramatic increase in commercial fishing for striped bass, one of the few fish which seem to actually be doing well in these days of dwindling limits and whispers about moratoriums, will hurt the fishery. Recreational fishermen had been limited to one fish as offi- cials took a cautious approach af- ter a number of lean years for the fishery. Those lean years prompt- ed a total moratorium which is credited with reviving the badly faltering fishery. Recreational fishermen can now take two fish a day which must be at least 28 inches in size. Commercial fishermen have al- so been tightly regulated and can not take fish smaller than 20 inch- es in size. Miller said that federal regula- tions allowed Delaware fishermen more fish last year, but that that allowance didn't come until late in the fishing season. That means the extra poundage allowed last year was carded over to this sea- son. The allocation from last year was for an extra 52,666 pounds and that will be carded over to this season. That is considered part of the 146,660 pound allocation. "I don't think there will be too much impact," Miller said, adding that this is the first real loosening of regulations for commercial OUTDOORS Mike Short fishing. Ninety percent of the commercial fishery comes in March and April. The remaining ten percent of the commercial fishery is a hook and line fishery (the 90 percent allocation is for gill netters). Miller said commercial fisher- men catching shad or other springtime fis.h often catch stripers (known regionally as rockfish), but have not been al- lowed to keep the fish. That means the accidental or bycatch i s simply tossed back dead, he said. Captain Jerry Blakeslee, presi- dent of the Delaware Captains As- sociation, said recreational fisher- men were probably more worded about the impact of a proposal which would open up the area be- yond three miles offshore to com- mercial and recreational fishing. Blakeslee said the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commis- sion had proposed opening up the fishery beyond that three mile EEZ (economic exclusion zone), but that it looks like the area will remain closed at least for now. That reminded Blakeslee of the massive striped bass harvests that preceded the population crash that led to a moratorium in the 1980's. TIDES Indian River Date Inlet 12:341 5:44 1:26 / 6:37 2/26 ii[ 2:18 1 7:38 3:14 / 8:39 4:13 | 9:34 2/29 iliiiiii:ii i 5;i0 ii0125 6:01 111:22 Roosevelt Inlet 1:34 I 7:47 :::::!,,:' :1'" ",z.211:: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: 3:33 ] 9:44 4:34 110:42 5:28 111:34 G i ii;2; Oak Orchard 4:28 111:07 5:24 112:08 6:23 11:04 7:20 I 1:53 8:05 1 2:39 "The bottom line of whatever is done is that it has to be done very prudently." He agreed with Miller that there is already a heavy bycatch of striped bass and said he hopes commercial fishing is not extend- ed too dramatically. "They have as much of a right to fish as we do," Blakeslee said. "(Still), I hate to see too much ex- pansion of commercial fishing." Dinosaurs of the sea Horseshoe crabs look to be the most useless creatures on earth. But beneath that homely exterior which has barely changed since prehistoric times, lurks a diamond in the rough. Horseshoe crabs have proven to have a vast array of uses to med- ical science, ranging from optical research on their eyes to use of their blood. The crab's blood con- tains a clotting agent which at- taches to dangerous fever-causing toxins frequently produced by bacteria, according to a Marine Advisory Service bulletin from the University of Delaware Sea Grant College program. The clotting agent is known as LAL and today it is considered the standard test for injectable and in- travenous drugs required by the Food and Drug Administration. The horseshoe crab's chitin (found in the shell) is also used to produce sutures. Research has shown the sutures can reduce healing time. The eggs of the crabs are vitally important for millions of migrat- ing shorebirds. Those eggs pro- vide food for birds during their migration along Delaware Bay, a trek of many thousands of miles during the springtime. That migration makes Delaware Bay one of the word's great bird- ing areas during the springtime and the stopover by the shorebirds allows them to gorge on tons of crab eggs needed to fuel the re- maining miles of their journey. The crabs are also used as bait for eels and other species - yet an- other reason why what was once considered a nuisance is becom- ing a treasure. The problem is that the once nu- merous horseshoe crabs may be experiencing a downturn in popu- lation. Because of concerns about the crabs, the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advi- sory Service has organized a fo- rum on the crabs. "We saw trends that were of concern," said Joe Farrell of the Marine Advisory Service. Those tl:ends prompted today's (Feb. 23) forum, which is aimed toward fish and wildlife officials, representa- tives from the pharmaceutical in- dustry, scientists, environmental- ists and other key players in this crabby dilemma. Trout season coming For those who thought winter was never going to end, one of the perennial harbingers of spring is on the way. Trout will soon be stocked at Gravel Hill. Trout season ranks with the first dogwood blossom as a sign of spring. Trout fishermen have been known, however, to go fishing when ice will freeze in the rod guides. Nevertheless, stocking will take place March 7 in Tidbury Pond near Dover and Gravel Hill pond between Georgetown and Harbe- son. Five hundred fish will'be stocked in each pond on March 7 with another 500 stocked on March 21. This is purely a put and take fishery with the trout not expected to live through the summer or spawn and reproduce: Fishermen are limited to six fish per day. Residents and non-resi- dents between the ages of 16 and 65 are required to have a Delaware fishing license. A juvenile trout stamp is re- quired for children between the ages of 12 and 15. A trout stamp is required for people who fish in the ponds between March 7 and April. 1. After April 1, a trout stamp is not required for those ponds. OPEN YEAR ROUND -- Open Thursday for Dinner thru Monday Night -- 320 Rehoboth Avenue 226-BREW :s Benefit 2nd Annual 5K RUN*& 1 MILE WALK Saturday, April 6th at 10 am (Rain or Shine) "RUN TO THE BEACH" Sponsored by Lewes Physical Therapy (302) 644-2530 For more information please contact: Race Director, Tim Bamforth 645-7748 *Seashore Strider Racing Series