Groovy baby, it’s your favorite international man of mystery, Richie Cunningham, here to talk about some serious business. Governor Wes Moore is in a bit of a pickle, as there's an influx of invasive fish species in the Chesapeake Bay, baby. These fish, including blue catfish, flathead catfish, and snakehead, are threatening the livelihood of Maryland’s fishing industry.
So, Governor Wes Moore has been getting his knickers in a twist over these pesky invasive fish species that are taking over the Chesapeake Bay. We're talking blue catfish, flathead catfish, and even snakehead! These buggers have been causing a decline in the catch of Maryland's commercial fishery species since 2012, by as much as 91 percent in some cases, baby! And let's not forget about the decline in dockside value, down by 85 percent! That's a whole lot of moolah, baby!
But fear not, because the governor has sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, asking for an emergency declaration under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act, which would allow Maryland to qualify for federal fishery disaster assistance. Yeah, baby!
The governor says it's critical to act now to mitigate the effects of these invasive species and provide assistance to the commercial fishing industry. And I couldn't agree more, baby! Blue catfish, in particular, are causing quite the stir. They were first introduced in Virginia in the 1970s for recreational fishing, but they've taken over like Dr. Evil trying to take over the world! These guys are multiplying like rabbits and eating everything in their path, including other fish and crustaceans. And let's not forget about their competition with native species for space and food, baby!
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, striped bass recruitment has been well below average for four consecutive years, while total abundance of blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay in 2022 was the lowest it's been since the survey began in 1990. That's not groovy, baby! Maryland and Virginia have even had to enforce stricter limits on recreational and commercial catch to protect spawning stock.
Secretary Josh Kurtz of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says that the impact of invasive species cannot be underestimated, and we can't delay action to address the damage they're causing. Yeah, baby, it's time to take action! And you know what, folks? The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is urging recreational anglers to target invasive species to help combat their population expansion. That's right, baby, we need to get out there and catch these buggers! And the best part? There are no fishing limits on invasive species, which means you can catch and keep as many as you want, any time of the year, baby! Now that's what I call a good time!