A highly-restrictive Maryland rockfish season was forecast today by the Department of Natural Resurces, although details were not finalized as expected. Suddenly, planning appears to be on a temporary hold even though time is critical if the season is to be opened within 10 weeks.
DNR secretary Torrey C. Brown did promise spring fishing will come, and be restricted to one fish for the entire season, "based on a permit system somewhat like that associated with deer hunting.
"We're finalizing plans that make us think we will not hurt the fish," said Brown, who added specifics would be available within a couple of days. Presumably, DNR's eventual plan must be approved by the Atlantic Coast Marine Fisheries Commission, and -- as emergency regulation -- require endorsement of the Maryland Administrative Executive Legislative Review Committee.
Brown declined to offer any other specifics of the promised season, which he said would be of "two, three or four weeks."
All this secrecy could mean changes are due in a plan spawned in the striped bass advisory committee that urged fishing from May 1-31, evenly split into two segments -- one calling for a trophy fish of 45 inches or more and the other for lesser rock.