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Dennis Doyle’s Prose

Dear Bay Weekly:

    I read with interest Dennis Doyle’s February 24 column “Commercial Fishing in Crisis: Outlaws are marauding on the Chesapeake.” [http://bayweekly.com/articles/sporting-life-dennis-doyle/article/commercial-fishing-crisis] Very dramatic headline but exaggerated at best.
    For the most part, what Doyle says in the column is true. Watermen are hunter-gatherers, the tradition continues from generation to generation, there aren’t enough marine police to enforce the mounds of laws and regulations imposed on watermen and so on.
    What is not true is the statement that these few lawbreakers/poachers have a “vicious outlaw attitude that seems bent on the destruction of an entire profession.” I hardly think the poachers acted to destroy their profession. More than likely, it was to make money in tough economic times.
    Another out-of-context statement is that “almost half of Maryland watermen had been cited for illegal operations in a four-year period.” Yes, just like automobile drivers, if you classify a citation for no bow light, too few life vests, accidentally fishing two feet over an invisible line in the water and so on. Hardly violations worthy of Doyle’s “outlaw” insinuation.
    In any event, the Maryland Waterman’s Association supports the legislation in the General Assembly to crack down on poaching. It and watermen contributed to the reward fund and will continue to work to report any lawbreakers.
    Dennis Doyle might make better use of his prose by turning his column into a breathtaking novel.

–Mick Blackistone, Editor: Waterman’s Gazette