- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brad Burns of the Stripers Forever group reminds us that a rockfish raised in a controlled aquaculture facility recently took first place in a big seafood cooking contest sponsored by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

It happened during “Masterpiece Day” at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in Louisiana. Executive chef Paul Anders of the Sweet Basil Restaurant in Vail, Colo., used striped bass fillets from a fish that was raised at an aquaculture facility. Anders’ dish was called “Colorado Striped Bass,” prepared with mushrooms, chorizo sausage, lemon, corn and truffle emulsion and parsley. (Heck, with all that stuff I suppose an old tennis show would have tasted good.)

Stripers Forever consists mostly of sport anglers that fancy - what else - stripers, but Burns also worries a great deal about the growth and sound management of the species. He is correct when he points out that hybrid striped bass raised on fish farms account for two thirds of the rockfish sold in America. Burns, who is president of the organization, joins me and thousands of other striped bass fanciers in wondering why wild, free-swimming striper populations continue to be exploited by commercial netters. Sportfishing organizations up and down the Atlantic Coast have called for gamefish status of the striped bass, which immediately would make it off-limits to the fish netters.

A majority of recreational anglers - who, incidentally, put far more money into state tax and private business coffers than commercial netters - favor helping the watermen establish land-based fish farming operations. The old argument that nothing tastes better than a free-ranging tidal water rockfish can be put to rest.

Anders, who said his award-wining dish “speaks highly to the quality of farm-raised products when they are done right,” proved as much.

Said Burns: “The wild striper is far too valuable as a recreational fish to be killed for the market; today, aquaculture for the highly sustainable hybrid striper is so efficient that fish farmers could quickly replace all the wild striped bass currently being harvested by commercial fishermen.”

Chef Anders’ striped bass recipe is available at stripersforever.org.

- Expressions of sympathy are arriving from all over for Howard Orian Lamb of Leonardtown, Md., who died at 83 at Calvert Nursing Home in Prince Frederick on Aug. 21.

The patriarch of the family that started the popular Tackle Box sport fishing and hunting store in Lexington Park decades ago was a familiar figure to St. Mary’s County anglers. Lamb was born in Arcadia, Fla., and as a youth took flying lessons at Page Field in Fort Myers until the outbreak of World War II, when he enlisted in the Navy and served in a number of training commands as an instructor until the end of the war. He stayed in the Navy and served as a plane captain on P2V Neptune anti-submarine aircraft.

Local sport fishing fanatics will remember Lamb as a quiet, kind and helpful person. Many years ago, long before he knew what I did for a living, I bought a crab dip net from him. After the purchase, I dropped a couple of dollar bills on the floor of the Tackle Box store. Lamb chased me down in the parking lot, waving the two bills, asking other customers to wait until he returned.

In recent years, his sons, Ken and Howard Jr., have run the store. The family will receive friends Aug. 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, where a memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Contributions may be made to Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 339, Lexington Park, Md., 20653.

- The National Sportsman Association has memberships available for the 2008-09 Virginia hunting season. Hunting lands are available in Spotsylvania, Culpeper, Hanover, Fauquier, Caroline, Prince William, Shenandoah, Warren, Rappahannock, Frederick, Orange, Page and Fairfax counties. The group also has properties in St. Mary’s County, Md.

For membership information, call 703/670-9783, go to nsa-inc.com or write to NSA, P.O. Box 2264, Woodbridge, Va., 22195.

cLook for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Also check out Gene Mueller’s blog, Inside Outside, at washingtontimes.com/sports.