This measure establishes a consensus-based process to create a new oyster fishery management plan for the state involving environmentalists, watermen and seafood sellers.
Environmental advocates say the measure maintains sustainable oyster fisheries by taking a scientific approach to harvests, while watermen are worried about restrictions on their haul.
Hogan said the bill was an attempt to delay the state’s implementation of a proposed oyster management plan and moved the goalposts on the state’s environmental targets.
For the override: “The intention with this bill was to make sure that we took the politics out of the oyster fishery and we put it into the hands of the people who do it most — the watermen, the scientists, the advocates — who live and breathe this issue day in and day out,” Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) said. “Fifty-nine percent of the oyster advisory commission will be made up of the industry, will be made up of watermen.”
In opposition: Del. Johnny Mautz (R-Middle Shore) has been a member of the Oyster Advisory Commission for six years and said he worried the bill could cause economic harm to Bay communities. “We’re tipping the scales and you’re putting the scientists in charge,” Mautz said. “…Do you want to grow oysters or do you want to study oysters?”
The tally: The House voted 95-43 to override the veto on the House version of the bill and 94-40 to override the veto of the Senate bill. The vote was 31-15 in favor of an override on both measures in the Senate.
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