New Crabbing Regulations Announched Today (Monday) - Use This Thread To Discuss
MARYLAND PROPOSES REGULATIONS TO REBUILD THE BLUE CRAB POPULATION
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Today, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposed new recreational and commercial harvest regulations to help rebuild the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population and fishery. The proposed regulations are designed to reduce female blue crab harvest by 34 percent in 2008.
“We must take action today to ensure that Maryland’s iconic blue crab and the economy it supports continue to be important parts of our culture for generations to come,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The historic cooperation and coordination between Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission has created an unparalleled opportunity to protect and restore our shared blue crab resource. By working together, we will protect the most biologically important blue crabs from the beginning of their migration until they spawn in late spring and summer.”
The proposed emergency regulations for the 2008 Chesapeake Bay commercial blue crab fishery include an early closure to the season for harvesting female crabs and catch limits on female crabs earlier in the fall. DNR’s preferred regulatory option being introduced as an emergency regulatory package today, would close commercial harvest of female crabs on October 23 and impose individualized catch limits effective September 1 based on a waterman’s recent annual average reported female blue crab harvest. The proposed emergency regulations for the 2008 Chesapeake Bay recreational fishery prohibit any female blue crab harvest.
“Protecting female blue crabs by reducing recreational and commercial harvests represents the best opportunity for the quickest rebound,” said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. “We will continue to work with scientists, recreational crabbers, the commercial crab industry, conservationists, and local businesses to ensure a sustainable future for our blue crabs so that the species can continue to fulfill its ecological role within the Bay while also supporting the local economies that rely upon it.”
The current abundance of adult or reproductive-age blue crabs is 120 million crabs, only slightly above the established minimum safe threshold of 86 million reproductive-age crabs, is 70 percent lower than 1990 levels and well below the conservation target of 200 million crabs. Since 2001, Maryland and Virginia have shared a conservation goal of limiting annual blue crab harvest to no more than 46 percent of the species population. Scientists estimate that more than 60 percent of the Bay’s adult crab population was harvested last year. In Maryland, the 2007 commercial blue crab harvest of approximately 21.8 million pounds was one of the lowest recorded since 1945.
Governor O’Malley has committed to working closely with Maryland’s blue crab industry to develop mitigation options for the potential short term economic impacts resulting from the proposed regulations. The fiscal year 2009 capital budget for DNR included $3 million for habitat restoration projects, seafood processing industry grants and aquaculture development.
More than 500 individual comments have been submitted on blue crab management to the DNR since it initiated a public comment process in February. DNR’s public comment process thus far has included nine public and Sport and Tidal Fish Advisory Commissions meetings and an on-going online comment process. The proposed draft regulations will be reviewed by the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review. The proposed regulations will be published in the Maryland Register on May 23, 2008.
DNR will hold two public hearings on the regulatory proposal – one on May 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Governor’s Hall at Sailwinds Park in Cambridge, and one on June 4 at 7 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church in Annapolis. Sign language interpreters and other appropriate accommodations for individuals will be provided upon request. Public comments may also be submitted via mail to Sarah Widman, Fisheries Service, B-2, Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland 21401, by calling 410-260-8260, by faxing to 410-260-8278 or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A variety of factors including over-fishing, poor water quality, loss of habitat such as submerged aquatic vegetation and oyster reefs, and changing climatic conditions have contributed to the decline of the Bay’s blue crab population. Reducing female blue crab harvest is one of many actions taken by the O’Malley Administration to help restore the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Recent successes include strengthening the Critical Area Law to protect the most sensitive and significant shoreline habitats; securing an additional $25 million annually for Bay restoration efforts through the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund; and implementing the BayStat Initiative to track progress and more effectively target our efforts.
Bushel Limits Proposed To Rebuild Blue Crab Population
Monday, April 21, 2008
WBAL Radio as reported by John Patti and Associated Press
Maryland is putting forth bushel limits, but no size limit, as it seeks to reduce this year's female crab harvest by a third.
State fishery regulators have released proposed regulations that would reduce this year's crab harvest to addresses worries that blue crabs are near dangerous lows in the Chesapeake Bay.
The proposed rules would limit the most prolific crabbers to 50 bushels of females a day during October, when females are most easily caught. Plans call for the female harvest to stop entirely after October 22.
The state has abandoned plans to limit females at 6.5 inches. That proposal was strongly disliked by watermen.
The regulations could take effect by early May 8th.
the 6.5" maximum has been abandon because it was strongly disliked by watermen....Don't tell me only the state is responsible due to lack of management...This is the result of hard lobbying by Larry and his minions....
I was on the media call today before this release was released. In fact MD DNR does have a list of the commerical crabbers with their limits. We were given a chart with the amount of crabbers that fall into each catch category. I imagine MD DNR will give NRP this list so NRP knows why they are. It's simple to show up at the dock of where these crabbers are when you know who they are.
I am not saying it is perfect, but they do have the lists.
Also, after October 23, 2008 there will no harvests allow. After October is in fact when a lot of female crabs are caught by commercial watermen, in some parts of the bay as many as 100 bushel a day are caught. Closing it down Oct 23, 2008 will have a major effect.
By LAWRENCE LATANE III
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
The state is considering offering jobs to watermen who will be hardest hit by new fishing restrictions expected to be passed Tuesday to preserve the economically important blue crab.
Officials in the Department of Natural Resources and Virginia Marine Resources Commission have been quietly discussing the idea for the past several days as the scope of the restrictions becomes clear.
If a jobs program is created, it would be the first time Virginia has provided work for watermen to mitigate the effects of a fishery regulation. Any plan would likely be aimed at watermen on Tangier Island, who depend greatly on the blue crab harvest. State-sponsored work might include building and replenishing the bay's depleted oyster reefs.
Just think of how many more gill nets will be out after Oct. 23. All those crabbers will have to switch over to fish. Maybe having much less Rockfish in the Bay will help the Crab population more than the sook restrictions..... Of course they could just lease a VA license ,if they don't all ready have one, and keep right on crabbing below the line.
impose individualized catch limits effective September 1 based on a waterman’s recent annual average reported female blue crab harvest.
How is that enforcable! You gonna tell me NRP is going to have a book with every single comm lic # in it with how many bushels of females they can take on any given day? BS
The October 23rd date is what DNR suggested for 20% reduction NOT 34%
Throw females back so comms can harvest, makes sense to me
Not so fast. New licenses for comms come out every Sept 1 (funny how the two dates match). Not sure if this is their plan, but I suspect each licnese will have a quota printed on it. At least, that's how I would do it.