Maryland Fishing Challenge
September 13, 2008
Thank you very, very much. It’s good to be with all of you.
I’m sure a lot of us were watching the television last night before we went to bed, and turned it on this morning to see what Hurricane Ike was doing to our neighbors down in the Gulf.
It’s strange to have a beautiful day like this and see that calm water out there and know that people are suffering. So in your hearts and in your own way, say a prayer for our neighbors down there and for the first responders – some of them from Maryland – who pre-deployed to help out our neighbors.
Maryland’s Fishing Heritage
You know there’s an old saying that “men and fish are alike, they both get into trouble when they open their mouths.” So with that truism in mind, I’m going to reduce my 40 pages of remarks so we can get right to this.
There are 650,000 people… 650,000 people – the size of the population of the City of Baltimore – who fish in our waters here in Maryland, contributing a billion dollars to our State economy. To all of you who pay your fees for the licenses, thank you.
You know one of the best ways we can help bring back the Bay is getting more people – including the next generation – into hunting and fishing. That too, is part of natural resource conservation, education, and understanding.
Protecting the Health of Our Bay
None of us want to be here years from now telling our grandkids, “you know what? See that beautiful water? You used to be able to fish in it.” That’s not the sort of legacy we want to leave to our kids.
In his own time, Teddy Roosevelt, who said some very timeless and important truths said this one, “our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations.”
The heritage of these unborn generations… That’s what you’re doing, when you in your own activities and your own ways contribute to Bay restoration, pay your fees for your licenses, and do those things… you’re helping us be able to pass on this heritage.
Working together, we’ve made important new investments in the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative. Together, we’re making tough decisions – but they’re the right decisions – to bring back the Blue Crab population. Working together, we’re restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay. We created a Chesapeake Bay Restoration Trust Fund for the first time. We’re making real progress, and we’re fixing our yellow perch management process, you’ve all been extremely helpful on that.
Working together we’ve created the Fisheries Management Task Force and the Oyster Advisory Commission. Working together, we’re investing $3 million dollars to help rebuild the oyster reef habitat.
And even in these tough times when everybody wants to “cut, cut, cut,” we are not going to cut our activities and our investments in bringing back the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
That’s something we do for the future.
You all have been very, very kind, you’ve been very, very patient. Now let’s bring up the kids.