EASTON - Jim Price, fisherman, charter boat captain, Bay environmentalist and the owner of Delmarva Jewelers, was honored, along with his wife Henrietta, by the Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCAMD), Mid-Shore Chapter Sept. 28.
Price was named the conservationist of the year, with his wife and assistant Henrietta at his side.
It was the culmination of a lifetime pursuit of striped bass, or rockfish, that began for money and as the years progressed, for knowledge.
Price has been a fisherman, both commercial and recreational. His first conservation efforts were serving as part of the Governor's Striped Bass Citizen's Committee in the 1970s. He was a lobbyist for the Maryland Charterboat Association in the 1980s.
Price was concerned with striped bass over-harvesting and nursery conditions when they were scarce in the '70s and '80s. When they became more plentiful again in the '90s, his focus shifted to striped bass health and nutrition. He began monitoring striped bass diets to support others' research, then on his own. His wife Henrietta tediously kept the records of where, what and how much.
Price's work involved the unglamorous business of cutting open fishes' bellies to see what they were eating.
"He probably knows more about what striped bass eat than any other person on the planet," Tony Friedrich said, who is Executive Director of CCAMD.
Among the many things that he's discovered, he found that striped bass feed extensively in winter and gain much of their energy for spawning then. Previous fish diet researchers did only limited work during the cold of winter, and had gotten only a partial scientific picture.
On water and on land, Price's work for the Chesapeake Bay has even gone beyond striped bass to include menhaden, oysters, and more. He has tackled problems from all angles, hands-on to administrative, forming committees, organizations and influencing legislation.
His award, a Certificate of Appreciation, was presented by Maryland DNR's Director of Fisheries Tom McConnell during the CCAMD Mid-Shore annual banquet at the Easton Club.