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First, a little history: When the striper population was near collapse in the late 1980's due to overfishing and pollution, a moratorium was imposed. For three years recreational and commercial fishermen were not allowed to fish for or possess the species. Everyone howled and complained, but by the time the ban was lifted the fish was on its way back. The fisheries scientists had made the right decision and we're left with the spring and fall runs we enjoy today.

To protect the still-fragile population, all kinds of laws were put in place after the moratorium. Virginia had a $500 per fish fine in place for anyone who took a striper that was out of season, under the limit, or took too many fish. And Maryland put a law in place that prevented dishonest anglers from claiming at 3 AM, "Oh, I caught those two before midnight and this one in the middle of the night" when the fish were all caught on the same calendar day. Till this day, they simply shut down the fishery in the prime hours--midnight to 5 AM.

Every other state I know has dropped these harsher rules, but Maryland's midnight law still stands. It's time to lift this draconian law in favor of a possession law that says you can only hold X number of fish, regardless of when they were caught. Does anybody else think we should lobby our legislators to get this old law rewritten to both protect the fish and our right to be out in the middle of the night when the fish are biting?
 

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I Do and would support it 10 fold. But I think they should up the stakes for people keeping under sized and over Limit fish.
Tight Lines,
Tim
 

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it's a wonderful idea. like i said in the other thread, if we want changes in the rules then there are proper ways of addressing them. how do you think should we start with this?

i agree with tim also with regards to raising the bar on those who violate the rules. another thing is to really educate anglers on why these rules exist.
 

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First, a little history: When the striper population was near collapse in the late 1980's due to overfishing and pollution, a moratorium was imposed. For three years recreational and commercial fishermen were not allowed to fish for or possess the species.
3 years ?? Am i missing something ? It really dont matter to me as long as it never happens again but since its a history lesson ;)
 

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i'm fine with the current regulation. i wouldnt mind seeing them increase the size limit either.
 

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Too many fishies

I'd like to see enforcement. Without enforcement a change in the rules allows those who would play about midnight rule. I'm sick of seeing poaching and lack of penalties being applied. I'm all for the science and ecological benefits that can be attained through proper wildlife management. But those who seek individual gain by not following the rules tend to undermine their own objectives.

As for the 3 a.m. rule, this has much to do with enforcement and staffing limitations of DNR. At the risk of asking for the unattainable, let us ask our courts to hear cases where a civil complaint is brought by person(s) who witness poaching and then let the fine and penalty lie where it should.

On the same level, the "no hunting on Sunday" rule that continues to exist in many Maryland counties is in need of revision. I'm sick of seeing my tax dollars pay for snipers that haul venision to the landfill. Such waste is intolerable.

Back to the topic, information about citizens arrest in Maryland is at: http://www.msba.org/departments/commpubl/publications/brochures/legalrights.htm

As taken from the above source, a citizen's arrest in Maryland is lawful only during the occurence of "a misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace or a felony in the citizen’s presence." Violations of COMAR generally do not fall within the ambit of such an arrest.

And yes, as usual, I'll throw a bit of historical prospective. In 1485 it was, under an Act of Henry VII, declared a felony to poach upon private land in England, with such grevious penalties to follow. And yes, it is true that Maryland is the only State in the Nation to adopt the laws of England as they existed in England as of July 4, 1776 unless specifically abrogated. As times change so shall the laws of the land, and it's time for a change.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If this law was about DNR staffing, why doesn't it apply to drum or trout or anything else? It's a holdover from the collapse of the fishery that turns law abiding fishermen into criminals completely by accident. Heck, every person who fishes Assateague overnight has probably broken this law at one point or another.

What I'm proposing is what every other state does with stripers--you put in a possession rule and enforce it. No "well I caught this fish yesterday and these two this morning" kind of stuff. If the limit is two fish per day, you get to walk out with two fish regardless of what time you leave.
 

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you dont think this rule (no possession from 12am-5am) keeps more fish in the bay?? i do. i dont want the striper fishery to collapse again.
 

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you dont think this rule (no possession from 12am-5am) keeps more fish in the bay?? i do. i dont want the striper fishery to collapse again.
i agree. what i dont like about this regulation is that you can't have a striper in possession after midnight even if it was caught before. what am i suppose to do, drive home at midnight after driving 2-3 hrs to a certain fishing location. i just think that part should change and maybe they can come up with some other regulation that will benefit both the fish and the fisherman. maybe they can have a seperate liscense to fish between those hours or set a certain restriction on size and qty between those time. i dont know....i just dont agree entirely with that regulation.
 

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If this law was about DNR staffing, why doesn't it apply to drum or trout or anything else? It's a holdover from the collapse of the fishery that turns law abiding fishermen into criminals completely by accident. Heck, every person who fishes Assateague overnight has probably broken this law at one point or another.

What I'm proposing is what every other state does with stripers--you put in a possession rule and enforce it. No "well I caught this fish yesterday and these two this morning" kind of stuff. If the limit is two fish per day, you get to walk out with two fish regardless of what time you leave.

I agree its a holdover. It doesn't apply to drum or trout because these fish were not put on the moratorium list, but there are limits there as well.

My point about staffing is that such a rule goes without enforcement. DNR is not staffed up during those hours and are likely addressing other matters (e.g., drunkards in parks, etc.) So instead of staffing to address a more balanced rule, they set this rule and hope that it's beneficial effects will be born through the honor system.

A rule which says you can walk out with two is equally unenforceable since those who are intent on poaching may leave and then come back for another two. So it is with the midnight rule to avoid those who would claim to have caught two at 11:59 p.m. and two more at 12:01 a.m. Looking at any rule there are always arbitrary lines, without them a rule could not be enforced.

I could be wrong but I believe poachers are a minority among fisherpersons.

As for turning fisherpersons into criminals, I doubt that was the intent of the rule, and besides these aren't criminal offenses per se. Intent or not the effect is the same and I agree with you on this. My position has always been that fishing is a wholesome family oriented activity and it is pathetic that the hobby has been turned into something else. It's almost like you need a lawyer, politician, judge and clergy to accompany you while you fish to make sure you follow the letter and flavor of the multitude of rulings.

BTW: I'm completely avoiding the issue about commercial fishing and deviations with rules for recreational fishing, which is somewhat disturbing as well. If a species needs protection then it's protection across the board and not just for the recreational fisherperson that is hardly a major cause of the problem.

All in all this is a good post about an aspect of the rules that many may not be aware of. In the spirit of looking out for fellow P&Sers, it might be a good idea to open a thread about little known rules so that each of us are better informed. I'll open a thread and see where it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I stand corrected--it is the Bay only, not oceanside.

My overall point is this: I can't think of another fishery in another state where you can suddenly go from a law-abiding angler to a criminal at the stroke of midnight. I wouldn't care if they upped the fines or the size limits if that's what's necessary to protect stripers, but in my opinion this law is just flat-out ridiculous.
 

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Would be really ridiculous, say you are packing up because it is midnight and you got a striper in the cooler, and by the time you clean up, it is about 30 past midnight and the man comes and check your cooler and gives out the ticket!
 

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I'd be full in favor of changing this as when i travel to fish stripers I hate losing that 5 hour stretch of prime time... good call Flea...

find a stater legislator to introduce the bill to change it... prolly get it attached to something you know will pass... easier to do it that way...
 

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I agree that it should be changed. I spoke to a DNR officer one evening a few years back asking the same question. Along with it being prime Striper feeding time it also coincides with minimal numbers of DNR staff on duty to enforce the laws.

I hope it can be changed but if that the staffing issue is really one of the main reasons the law exists _and_ DNR has a say in its passing I doubt it will. But I am hopeful !
 

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i agree about the 12-5 being no dnr officers ive called them a few times on poachers and they never did show up so now i stopped calling
 
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