665 out of 1800 VA Crab Permit holders bid to sell permits
Watermen Bid to Sell Licenses to the State
Daily Press Nov. 7th
RICHMOND - One-third of Virginia watermen have offered to sell their licenses to the state under a buyback program intended to ease pressure on the Chesapeake Bay crab.
The bids, however, far exceed the $6.7 million in federal disaster aid bankrolling the buyback, meaning only a fraction of the watermen who bid will likely be leaving the water.
The 665 bids received by a Nov. 1 deadline totaled $30.4 million, ranging from a low of $500 to a high of $665,000, which was submitted by a part-time waterman. Virginia has approximately 1,800 licensed watermen, most of whom are part-time. Many others rarely go out on the water.
Over the next few weeks, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission will sort the bids with an eye on retiring the most productive watermen. Virginia stopped issuing crabbing licenses a decade ago because of a steady decline in the shellfish.
"We're going to be looking to get the biggest bang for the buck that we can," said John M.R. Bull, spokesman for the commission, who released the bid results Friday. "We're going to be looking at this from the perspective of what's best for the crabs."
Some watermen have scoffed at the idea that the best among them will sell their licenses, and some are holding on and hopeful the crab fishery will again be abundant.
Of the bids received, about 75 were from full-time watermen, according to figures supplied by Bull. More than half were part-time or on a waiting list.
The bids were received under a voluntary reverse auction in which watermen were invited to submit bids to the state on what they deemed the value of their license. The state has said it will not negotiate bids.
Chesapeake Bay crab stocks have declined 70 percent since the early 1990s because of overfishing, pollution and habitat loss. The U.S. Commerce Department declared the crab fishery a federal disaster.
Virginia and Maryland have enacted measures intended to encourage the crab population to return to historic highs. They have included shortened seasons for watermen and creation of a vast sanctuary.
Maryland has also attempted to thin its ranks of crabbers through a license buyback. In late October, the state retired more than 530 licenses. Many of Maryland's 6,000 licenses are not actively used.
My add on's to the article.
There are like 500 licenses that are on hold. Also no matter what someone may "want" to do regarding "retiring the most productive watermen" The following is a quote from the official minutes of the July Commission meeting where the program was voted upon.
Mr. Travelstead said that there was $6.4 million and from the largest license to the
smallest license were eligible. He said funds were available at a rate of 50% for full-time
crabbers; 30% for part-time crabbers; and 20% for those on the waiting list. He said that
a full-time crab potter was defined at working at least 100 days and peeler potters at least
So split between inactive and active licenses and full time users of the licenses is set.
Interesting news. On a positive note and not meant to thread jack they were doing some massive cleanup in the Back river yesterday. Lots of EPA equip and roll-offs. Now the focus should turn to neighboring farms and the run off problems.
Smallest is a LCC Limited Crab Catcher it is a TFL but with the others there are more endorsments. You can purchase a "business" with the lisence ie.. some type of equipment. Plus you must have the signature of 3 seasoned waterman sign off on the transfer attesting to your knowlege and experience plus hours worked. One of which may be the one selling the "business". So yes you may purchase it when you find a seller. Some of the larger lisenses with 300 pot allocation or more can get up there usually 6-8k. The more endorsments the more you will pay, and the more the renwal fee is every year. Also be sure to know your COMAR with the propsals you can easily be suspended with fewer points. Kinda like a drivers license, but it's gettn a little more strict. If you have any questions please post them and we'll help ya.
In VA you can purchase a permit from someone who has one for sale. The law allows for 100 transfers per year. Usually you can do a transfer through the middle of the year or so before they run through 100. This year they might go early.
Those that were sold back to the VA via the buyback program are permanently retired permits.
Yep. . .neither did I. . . Oh and in VA you have to hold a commercial watermen's card to get a crab permit. You can get a watermen's card by putting your name on a two year delay list (no experience required just the ability to wait for two years) or by buying one from someone else.