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Do poaching regulations require stronger enforcement?

As the February 2011 season opened, Maryland's Natural Resources Police discovered miles of illegal "ghost nets" hidden beneath the surface and packed with more than 10 tons of rockfish.  Waterman William Lednum, known around Tilghman Island as "Billy," is now Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate No. 57529-037 at Fort Dix, N.J.  On insular Tilghman — a 2.7-square-mile island with fewer than 800 residents — many are outraged by Lednum's fall., Catherine Rentz, The Baltimore Sun

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John Yates, was fishing in the Gulf of Mexico when a federal agent spotted him and his men reeling in grouper that were less than 20 inches long. The agent boarded the boat, counted 72 fish that were under the legal limit, and told the captain to return to port.  Prosecutors charged the captain with several crimes, including obstruction of justice under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  The Supreme Court recently narrowed the definition of obstruction of justice under the so-called Enron law, which freed Mr. Yates from charges that he secretly tossed overboard dozens of undersized red grouper to avoid prosecution., David Savage, LA Times

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Should we pursue more aggressive phosphorus management regulations?

In an attempt to balance pollution regulations on the state's farming industry, Gov. Larry Hogan rolled out his "Maryland Agriculture Phosphorus Initiative," creating both looser and stricter regulations on Shore farmers.  Under his proposal, most farmers would have until 2022 to come into full compliance with the regulations.  Phil Davis, DelmarvaNow

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"The health of the Chesapeake Bay affects all of us who live in this unique part of the world. “All of us” includes the people who live here and depend on the Bay. WE are the watermen, the farmers, the boaters, the environmentalists, the young people, the Moms, the Dads. There is a way to measure phosphorus runoff and limit it to a reasonable level to benefit ALL OF US. It is reasonable to expect the representatives we elect to support the health of the treasure we ALL rely on."  Larry Pifer, member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum.

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Should a moratorium be placed on blue crab harvests?

"We have all watched critical Chesapeake resources dwindle to nothing, victims of declining habitat and ever more efficient methods of exploitation. At some point, these resources either go away or somebody puts up a hand and says: Stop! With blue crabs, that time is now — or never." Angus Phillips, former sports columnist for The Washington Post

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"While a moratorium may be tempting in its simplicity, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and most scientists believe that limits on the harvesting of female crabs are biologically appropriate for such a resilient species (which is far different from the striped bass, for which the CBF was a moratorium advocate). This approach will also have the added benefit of maintaining jobs and avoiding the economic devastation to communities like Smith and Tangier islands."  William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

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Commercial Availability of Maryland Seafood

This calendar is for information purposes only. This is based off of historical trends and could change at any time based on seasonal closures, weather, or other factors.   Prepared by Steve Vilnit (svilnit@dnr.state.md.us)

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Seasonal Availability of Fresh Virginia Species
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Graphic below of recent Chesapeake
Bay commercial seafood harvest
data for Maryland and Virginia is
derived from data tracked by
NOAA's Office of Science and
Technology National Marine
Fisheries Service
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 Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region

The 2007 Census of Agriculture reported 83,775 farms in the Chesapeake Bay region, about 4 percent of the total number of farms in the United States. Farms in the Chesapeake Bay region make up about 1 percent of all farmland in the nation. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the value of Chesapeake Bay region agricultural sales in 2007 was about $9.5 billion—24 percent from crops and 76 percent from livestock. About 51 percent of Chesapeake Bay region farms primarily raise crops, about 42 percent are primarily livestock operations, and the remaining 7 percent produce a mix of livestock and crops.   Most of the farms (74 percent) in 2007 were small operations with less than $50,000 in total farm sales.  U.S. Department of Agriculture

Agricultural land covers close to one-quarter of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. According to 2010 estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are more than 87,000 farm operations and 8.5 million acres of cropland here. Farms in the Bay watershed produce more than 50 commodities, including corn, soybeans, wheat, fruits and vegetables. (Chesapeake Bay Program)
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On November 15, 1990, in response to mounting evidence that air pollution contributes to water pollution, Congress amended the Clean Air Act and included provisions that established research and reporting requirements related to the deposition of hazardous air pollutants to the "Great Waters." The waterbodies designated by these provisions includes the Chesapeake Bay, and certain other coastal waters.  About 25 percent of all approved shellfish waters for oysters and clams in the United States are found in Chesapeake Bay.  In recent years, increased attention has been paid to the role that toxics may play in the problems facing Chesapeake Bay. No evidence was found of severe, system-wide responses to toxics similar in magnitude to the effects observed throughout the Bay due to excessive nutrients.

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Bay Area Farmers Markets

Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar is Maryland's largest producers-only market where shoppers can revel at the sight of a vast quantity of foods, including crisp seasonal fruits and vegetables, poultry, seafood, beef, pork, lamb, bison, goat, rabbit, fresh baked goods, flavorful herbs and organically raised and produced milk, yogurt, butter, eggs and cheese products. Additionally, dozens of food vendors add spice to the market with multicultural cuisine.  The Market is open Sundays between April and December from 7am to sell out (typically noon).

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The Fells Point Farmers Market offers outdoor, waterfront shopping for local, farm fresh items in Historic Fell's Point. The Market helps bring back the days from the 1700's where the original Farmer's Market took place. The stall numbers, etched into the curbs surrounding Broadway Square, can still be seen and help to bring this fabulous energy back to where it started.  The market is held on Broadway Square on Broadway and Thames Street. The market is open Saturdays 7:30am-12:30pm May through November.

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The Anne Arundel County Farmers’ Market was first organized in 1981 by the County Office of Planning and Zoning. The Market now has over 50 vendor members. It is open two days a week in the summer, on Saturdays and Tuesdays. A large variety of items are now being offered and it has one of the longest market seasons in the state, opening in April and continuing until the Saturday before Christmas.

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The Kent Island Farmers’ Market is the Eastern Shore’s only year round producer-only farmers’ market. Their member’s products feature raw milk artisan cheeses, yogurt made with local maple and honey, sustainable wild caught fish (ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, and mahi), local wheat artisan breads, free range eggs & chicken, organic & IPM produced fruits & vegetables and naturally raised pork &  grass-fed beef, milk, gourmet flavored hummus, various nuts and nut butters, olives and olive oils, 12 - year aged balsamic vinegar, scratch made soups and gluten free baked goods.

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The Chestertown Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market is open Saturday mornings from 8 am to noon beginning about the third Saturday in March and ending about the last Saturday in December.  The Market is located in beautiful Fountain Park in the heart of downtown Chestertown, on Maryland's Eastern shore.  They offer fresh home grown produce, herbs, breads, soaps, plants and cut flowers as well as the hand-crafted works of local artisans.

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The North Beach Friday Night Farmers’ Market & Classic Car Cruise-In offers seasonal delights from local farms including, fresh, flavorful fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, cheese, meat, seafood, fresh-baked goods, cut flowers, and bedding plants. You can sample the wines from Calvert County wineries and purchase by the glass or bottle. Classic car enthusiasts can enjoy viewing some of the coolest vehicles in the area at the Classic Car Cruise-In. The Market is open every Friday, 6 to 9 pm, May through the first Friday in October.

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The Cambridge Main Street Farmers Market is open May through mid-October at Long Wharf Park in Cambridge, MD, on Thursday afternoons, 3-6pm.  It's one of the only waterfront farmers' markets in the state.  The Market offers shoppers the opportunity to support local farmers and the Eastern Shore’s rich agricultural heritage.

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The Mathews Farmers Market is located on the historic courthouse green in Mathews County, Virginia. Stroll among the historic village buildings as you shop from local vendors who specialize in fresh organic produce. Each month your senses will come alive from the seasonal array of wholesome fruits and vegetables, native plants, baked goods and handcrafted gifts presented at the Farmer's Market. Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.  April through October.

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The Town of Tappahannock and Essex County sponsor a series of monthly Farmers’ Markets located in historic downtown Tappahannock. The markets are held from 9-1 pm on the third Saturday of each month starting April and running through November. The Markets feature: vegetables and fruits; meats and seafood; garden plants and accessories; bread and baked goods; home made crafts and fine arts; and an assortment of restaurant and food vendors, as well as music by local performers.

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The Warsaw Farmers Market is an economic and community event, attracting consumers around the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. It serves as a benefit for tourists, travelers and residents alike to stop, shop, and benefit from the great resources the area has to offer. The Warsaw Farmers' Market runs May through September, 2012.  It takes place on the second Saturday of each month from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

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The Onancock Market provides a venue for local farmers, watermen and artisans to offer their fresh, seasonal, and locally grown and manufactured products and qualified art directly to residents and visitors in the community. The Market is open every Saturday, May through October.  Hours are 8:00 am - 12:00 pm (May through September) and 9:00 am - 12:00 pm (All other market days).

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Now in their 13th season, the Smithfield Farmers Market is proud to be a Virginia Grown market offering locally grown produce, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, peanuts, plants, herbs, baked goods, coffee, cheese, honey, barbecue, wood-fired pizza, ham sandwiches, handcrafted items and more.  The Market is open April through October every Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

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The Virginia Beach Farmers Market is open year-round and features a variety of agriculturally inspired shops and related businesses that offer seasonal, fresh vegetables and fruit in addition to many other products. An organic grocery, butcher shop, seafood market, dairy and ice cream, florist, candy store, bakery, full-menu restaurant, wild bird store, and home and garden gift stores offer a unique and varied shopping experience. Farmer-to-you seasonal produce allows you to experience some of the best the agriculture community has to offer.

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The Williamsburg Farmers Market is located in Merchants Square in the heart of historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Flowerbeds and benches offer a tranquil setting for this open-air, Virginia producer-only market. Over 35 vendors offer a variety of local products, among which are fresh seasonal produce, chicken, beef, bison, pork, oysters, fish, crabs, prawns, herbs, potted plants, baked goods, confections, honey, cheese, cut flowers, handmade soaps, and more. The Market offers seasonal hours and is open Saturday mornings April through October.

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The Portsmouth Olde Towne Farmers Market offers Seasonal fresh produce; artisan breads, pies, cakes, scones, savory biscuits, brownies, cookies and other baked goods; beef, poultry, eggs, and seafood; jams and jellies, salsas and sauces; plants and flowers; hand-crafted soaps and more. Several farmers specialize in heirloom produce and free-range poultry and eggs, and most products are locally grown/raised without the use of chemicals or hormones. Portsmouth’s Master Gardeners sell potted herbs and are available for free consultation about gardening in the region and special programs and workshops.

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The Yorktown Market Days features seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood, eggs, poultry, beef and pork; fresh breads, cheeses, baked goods, peanuts, cut flowers, organic and gluten free products, potted plants, coffee, jams & jellies; dipping oils and meat rubs; quality art, chefs demonstrations and live musical entertainment. The 2014 vendor list included over 30 farmers, watermen, bakers and producers. The Market is located at Riverwalk Landing on the Yorktown waterfront.  Hours are from 9:00 to 12:00on Saturdays from May through December.

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Harvest the Chesapeake Resources

The Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association is a non-profit association formed 50 years ago to represent the seafood processing industry in Maryland.  They work to further the best interests of Maryland’s seafood industry together with other seafood companies in East Coast and Gulf Coast states. The CBSIA supports all efforts to preserve the resource and livelihood of those who depend upon seafood for their livelihood.

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries marketing program is host to the official Maryland Seafood website, which not only showcases the Chesapeake Bay’s delicious bounty, but the rich legacy that has evolved from its harvest and enjoyment.  The website features a seasonal seafood calendar, recipes to stir the imagination, health and fish consumption advice, and the more than 70 species found in Maryland. There is information on making sustainable choices that will help the State’s fishery, along with news and events supporting local seafood. The Maryland Seafood website also highlights the watermen who catch and deliver these products, and provides a historical look at classic seafood towns throughout the region.

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The Maryland Watermen's Association is dedicated to the interests of all who derive beauty & benefit from Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Waters. The Maryland Watermen’s Association website features articles and information from the Waterman’s Gazette, as well as links to other sites of interest, such as the state legislature, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources.

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Maryland Sea Grant College, a university-based partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a service organization administered by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. They fund research, education, and outreach throughout the state of Maryland. Their offices are located in College Park, Maryland. Through its Extension program, Sea Grant supports: coastal planning and land use; economic analyses of the potential impacts of environmental policies; fisheries; the seafood industry; and water issues.

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The Maryland Agricultural Resource Council is organized for the benefit of the citizens of Maryland to enhance the rural economy and to foster conservation of agricultural and natural resources through educational and technical services. They support current and prospective farmers and agribusinesses through seminars, activities, continuing education programs, curriculum-based partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities as well as mentoring opportunities with successful farmers. 

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The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s mission is to provide leadership and support to agriculture and the citizens of Maryland by conducting regulatory, service, and educational activities that assure consumer confidence, protect the environment, and promote agriculture. Many activities of the MDA are regulatory in nature, others are assigned to a category of public service and some are educational or promotional in scope. 

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University of Maryland Extension celebrated a century of service in 2014. In addition to traditional programs in Agriculture, 4-H and Youth, Family & Consumer Science and Master Gardening, it provides education and publications in Aquaculture.  Program areas have included striped bass and hybrids culture, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, soft crab production and shellfish. Our program teaching modern techniques of oyster aquaculture has helped to develop the almost 4,000 acres now in production in Maryland. Workshops, short courses and field days provide quality outreach education to those wanting to grow and market shellfish. Extension programs cover both production and business management skills to ensure successful business development.

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The Maryland Farm Bureau has over 37,211 member families that belong to the state’s 23 county Farm Bureaus. The Bureau’s purpose is to increase net farm income and improve the quality of life by providing a legislative voice, increasing public understanding and promoting member involvement. They strive to promote and protect Maryland agriculture and rural life.
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The Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. The Extension is committed to providing access to unbiased, scientific information related to locally defined issues; a presence in local communities; the establishment of strong partnerships and collaborative coalitions; and innovative service to the commonwealth. 

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The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was established in 1877 and is responsible for over 60 laws and more than 70 regulations relating to consumer protection and the promotion of agriculture. In carrying out its responsibility for representing the concerns and interests of agriculture, VDACS works in cooperation with Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service on research, education, and marketing projects.

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With 128,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. The organization works to support its producer members through legislative lobbying, leadership development programs, commodity associations, rural health programs, insurance products, agricultural supplies and marketing, and other services. 

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The Virginia Seafood website is supported by the Virginia Marine Products Board.   The website provides information on the Virginia seafood industry, news, events and recipes. A directory of seafood suppliers is also maintained on the site.  The Board offers a wide range of helpful recipe brochures, species fact sheets, and informational videos to help market Virginia seafood. 

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The Virginia Seafood Council, founded in 1955, is a trade association, non-profit, which serves all facets of the seafood industry. Its purpose is to assist in the development of the seafood industry and to be a communicator for the seafood industry in Virginia.  The Council monitors legislative actions of the Virginia General Assembly that relate to the commercial seafood industry. The Council retains a lobbyist in Richmond to represent it at the legislature. Likewise, on the Congressional level, the Council maintains open lines of communication with the Virginia delegation on all issues related to the Bay and fishing industry.

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Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) advances the resilience and sustainability of Virginia’s coastal and marine ecosystems and the communities that depend upon them. As a broker of scientific information, VASG works with resource managers, businesses, communities, and other stakeholders to provide and apply the best science available.  VASG funds and conducts research, outreach, and communications activities that focus on: safe & sustainable seafood; healthy coastal & marine ecosystems; sustainable & resilient coastal communities; and coastal & ocean literacy.

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