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2016 Legislative Accomplishments

Sustainable Oyster Population and Fishery Act of 2016

This bill requires a study by the Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science as well as other stakeholders, to provide critical pieces of data related to:

  • Sustainable harvest rates for the public oyster fishery
  • Appropriate indicators for the public oyster fishery based on stock assessments and real data; and
  • Whether the public oyster fishery is experiencing overfishing

This data is critical to the fisheries management plan for the Chesapeake Bay oyster, as it has not been provided by any other previous studies. Kumar Barve, Chair of the House Environment & Transportation Committee, called this “one of the most significant bills ever passed for the Chesapeake Bay”

 

Oysters and Clams – Dredging by Auxiliary Yawl – Authorized Boats

A loophole exists in the harvest limit law that allowed someone to use a sailboat and designate it a “skipjack” in order to take advantage of the increased harvest limits for skipjacks, as well as utilize the ability to use a power dredge

  • This bill closes that loophole to protect both the oyster population, and the rich history of the REAL Chesapeake Bay Skipjack fleet

 

Fighting poaching

  • Several pieces of legislation were introduced that would relax punishments on the most egregious acts of poaching in the Bay
  • The Baysavers fought hard to protect the Natural Resources Police’s right to revoke the licenses of the worst actors in the Bay’s oyster fishery
  • We ensured that no pieces of legislation passed that would hinder the protection of the fishery

 

Protecting sanctuaries

Maryland has invested millions in the restoration and administration of oyster sanctuaries throughout the Bay

  • At all times, the Baysavers are vigilant to ensure that no Bay-related legislation passes without giving proper consideration to its effect on our sanctuaries
  • We protect the investment of the Maryland taxpayers

 

Pollinator Protection Act of 2016

The Baysavers contributed to the passage of this bill that restricts the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are particularly harmful to the bee population, in addition to contributing to harmful runoff into the Bay

** It has taken years to get this legislation passed, and now Maryland is the “bee-friendliest” state in the U.S!! **