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March 24, 2000     Cape Gazette
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March 24, 2000

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Watermen gain hope after meeting By Jim Cresson Commercial watermen, upset by &apos;hat they perceive to be the state's systematic attempt to put them out of business through overly intensive restrictions and unfair arbitrary permit issuance, took their case to two state sena- tors this week and walked away confident that change is on the horizon. Watermen Charlie Auman, Jon Mick and Burt Adams, all from the Milford area, met for 30 min- utes, Tuesday, March 21, with Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, and Sen. David McBride, D- Hawk's Nest. "We talked about how unfairly the fisheries section of the De- partment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has treated us," said Auman after the meeting. "We brought document- ed evidence of our complaints and we spent most o* the time focus- ing on the most recent grievances about the horseshoe crab lottery and the still-unexplained issuance of a conch permit to an apparently unqualified Milton man." Mick talked about how his son, Travis, had discovered state records of rockfish catches in the Delaware Bay going back to 1880 while doing research at the Uni- versity of Delaware's College of Marine Studies. "This was an im- portant discovery," Mick said. "Our ridiculously low rockfish quotas each year are the result of the fisheries section telling us they had no historical records of rockfish catches in the Delaware Bay when they set the quota lim- its in 1985, so the baseline quotas were established on 1970s land- ings. Those were lean years - the rockfish were in decline then - and we've had to live with ridicu- lously low landing quotas ever since then. Now it turns out they did have records and certainly should have known about them. It's another example of how the fisheries section has misled us and mistreated us." Adams, whose family has made its living off the water for genera- tions, said he believes the fish- eries section should be held ac- countable for its treatment of wa- termen. "That section of DNREC doesn't represent us commercial fishermen at all," Adams said. "In fact, they fight against us all the time. All we're asking is for them to be fair and even-handed." Auman said Simpson and McBride encouraged the water- men to submit proposed legisla- tion they think will correct some of the perceived inequities, guar- anteeing the bills would get prop- er discussion and debate in the legislative process. "It's my feeling the watermen have legitimate gripes about what's been going on," Simpson said after the meeting. "There seems to be a pattern of minor complaints over the years that has led the watermen to feel that DNREC is trying to close them down. I'm not yet saying that is the case, but if it is, it's absolutely wrong. It would not be fair for the state to put an old and proud in- dustry like that out of business." Simpson said he is certain there are "personnel issues in DNREC that need to be resolved." He added that fairness in the state's commercial and recreational fish- ing activities is "the essential that needs to be achieved." "We're definitely encouraged," Auman said after the meeting. 'Tin already writing proposed legislation to submit to Sen. Simpson. All we really want is for the legislature to hear our griev- ances and help us correct the situ- ation." DART bus plans win high marks; officials say plans are a good start By Michael Short The latest round of resort-area bus service plans drew mostly ap- plause at a meeting Tuesday, March 2 I. A modest crowd offered up modest praise for the plans at a public workshop in Bethany Beach. The latest DART First State plans for Sussex County in- cludesservice between George- town, Lewes and Rehoboth, Re- hoboth and Long Neck and a new feature this season, a Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach Route that connects with Ocean City. The service begins May 22 and most of the routes conclude Sep- tember 4. Several speakers praised the plans while saying that more service is still needed. Other speakers complained that more stops and more service, par- ticularly on weekends, is still needed. "It is a beginning," said Joseph Demul of South Bethany Beach "The plans you have are cer- tainly a big step forward," said Fenwick Island Mayor Peg Baun- chalk. Mike Lynn said the hrea is no longer a tourist area with only a summer season. "24-7 (24 hours a day, seven days a week), 365 days a year. This is a year-round com- munity that we are trying to ad- dress. Thisis a great step in the right direction, but weneed to look at 24-7, year round." Baunchalk said the plans were a good start and that more educa- tion is needed to inform riders. DeMul said that transit is not keeping up with rapid growth. "This is a growth population. [Transit] should anticipate growth rather than fall behind it," he said. Critics said bus schedules make it hard to mesh bus with work schedules, that more stops are needed and that more weekend routes are needed. Glen Hudson complained that people who take the bus have to park in metered areas which are heavily enforced. "People who want to come in and catch the bus will have a hard time finding parking," he said. Ron Patterson asked if service to Rehoboth Beach would contin- ue to go all the way to the turn- around at the bandstand this sea- son after comments by some Re- hoboth officials that they would prefer the buses not go that far. Patterson was told the,plans are to continue to travel to the band- stand this summer. The audience was also told that the buses have bicycle racks to accommodate bi- cycles. People who could not attend the meeting may e-mail comments to <ww licHearifig>'or mail them to DART First State Community Meeting, P.O. BOX 1670, Wilm- ingto/; DE, 19899-1670 by March|28. : CtklE'(]AZEE, Friday, March 24 -March 30, 2000- 15 Jim Cresson photo Twenty-five commercial watermen took their grievances to the picket line in front of the Department of Natural Re- sourcs and Environmental Control offices in Dover, March 3. Shown (l-r) with their signs are watermen John Marowski and Charlie Auman. REHOBOTH RESORT REALTY For Rent Large Townhouse located on quiet side street in the historic town of Milton. Three bedroom, with family room and fenced backyard. Call Coldwell Banker in Lewes at 645-2881 2000 Mercedes Benz Starting At $35,945 Or *535 x38 Mo." 12K/Year lease. First month payment acquisition fee refundable security deposit tax & tags due at signing: Subject to approval MBCC. 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