ANNAPOLIS - The end of February marked the end of the striped bass drift gill net season in the Chesapeake Bay. All totaled, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) officers working up and down the Bay confiscated over 10 illegal gill nets, nearly 450 pounds of fish and charged nine individuals with various fishing violations during the last two months of the three-month season.
In Calvert County, NRP charged Francis Donald Eastridge, 47, of Chesapeake Beach with setting and fishing monofilament gill net and fishing/maintaining on vessel greater than 600 yards of drift gill net for striped bass; John Robert Abner, 33, of Chesapeake Beach with fishing monofilament gill net, fishing/maintaining on vessel greater than 600 yards of drift gill net for striped bass, and harvesting striped bass for commercial purposes without allocation card in possession; and Jerome William Janda Jr., 51, of Tilghman with setting and fishing anchored gill net in the Chesapeake Bay and failure to properly mark gill nets while fishing for striped bass.
In Anne Arundel County, NRP charged Michael D. Hayden Jr., 35, of Tilghman with failure to have his Tidal Fishing License (TFL) available for inspection while engaged in commercial activity; Thomas Charles Jacob, 21, of Rock Hall with harvesting striped bass for commercial purpose without a valid license to catch striped bass; Harold Walter Cheyney III, 41, of Warwick with possession of 12 undersized striped bass; and Daniel Leroy Dierker, 28, of Rock Hall with possession of five undersized striped bass and harvesting striped bass for commercial purposes without allocation card in possession.
In Queen Annes County, NRP charged David Lee Porter, 45, of Rock Hall with possession of four undersized striped bass and harvesting striped bass for commercial purposes without allocation card in possession; and Harry Walton White, 48, of Rock Hall with harvesting striped bass for commercial purposes without allocation card in possession.
Used for the commercial harvest of fish, a gill net is maintained in a vertical position in the water with sinkers or floats. It ensnares fish by means of a mesh too small to permit passage of the body of the fish or withdrawal of the head once the posterior margin of the gill covers has passed through the mesh. A drift gill net is not secured or anchored to the bottom but includes a net rigged with up to 20 pounds of weight at each end. It must be attended by the licensee in a boat within two miles of the net while it is in waters of the Chesapeake Bay, or within one mile when the net is in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, its coastal bays and their tributaries, or a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. An anchor gill net is a net that is stationary in the water and secured to the bottom by conventional anchors or heavy weights.
Source: Md. Department of Natural Resources