Chris, Dismiss facts all you want. What I'm talking about is a solution based on history and science. The problem with dissolving doors is that its not supported with history and science. Its just a seemingly/semi-innovative wag at something that might treat a symptom, hard to enforce at best. What we need is a better way to catch crabs, without so much waste. The "solution" you are prescribing suggests this kind of trap loss is in some way acceptable. It is not. Watermen talk about all the pollution but look at what kind of metal you are prescribing should be allowed to be lost at the same unchecked rate. Sorry bud, other domestic crustacean fisheries have already figured this out. Total Allowable Catch or business as usual.
Originally Posted by paxfish
I have a solution to it " crab scrapes for everyone" no more lost pots, done, no more beating a dead horse.
One thing I see missed here is-How many of these lost pots are rec pots? Has an accurate survey of watermen been done where all are honest? First hand-I used to have a place in bush creek near Deltaville. The campground there had a really bad habbit of filling the creek with pots and tying them to the docks. When winter would come they would leave them there. They would keep everyhting they caught as well, includung 12" puppy drum. One year I guess some of the landd owners go feed up and called VMRC. They came in and pulled every one they could find, the count I heard was 250. The majority of them did not have the new size cull ring either. They posted on the office door they could claim their pots at the sherrifs office. LOL One guy did. Anyway, just saying I wonder how many ghost pots are from recs that don't care, or can't remember where they put them?
I'm thinking the "recs are bad too" defense has sort of hit a new low here. The ghost pot problem as identified is an open water issue. Anybody who knows enough to deploy the "but what about recs" defense should know we're talking about a different kind of crab catching device, weighted with enough metal to keep it from drifting in the open water current. I realize the backwood nonsense/regulations in Virginia allow comms to fill every tidal ditch and surround any landowner's pier with commercial crab catching gear sort of blurs the line between commercial crabbing and non-commercial crabbing. Unfortunately Virginia's non-conservation crab industry is also not the issue here. We're talking about vast amounts of abandoned commercial crabbing gear in open water. Maybe a little of that gear was recreational gear washed away from piers in storm conditions. That is possible.
Originally Posted by timber
????? "Anybody who knows enough to deploy the "but what about recs" defense should know we're talking about a different kind of crab catching device" ????? It is the same device. the only differance is that most of the rec pots do not have the rebar in them. They do just as much damage as the comm pots. The recs also put them in open water as well, with no weight, guess what, gone. We snaged two (small number I know) In the mouth of the James. They were in 50+ and had about 20' of line with a clorox bottle as a cork. I am not singling out recs, just do not over look that issue as well.
The disolving panel is aa super idea. I am sure there is a engineer somewhere that can come up the composition that would allow for that. Understanding the changing salinity is an issue but, if you design for a high salinity to hold for 12 months, and you get a low salinity year and they hold for lets say 18 months that is still way way better than 5-10 years. Also keep this in thought, instead of a whole panel just take one side of the pot, instead of wraping use hog rings that are designed to disolve. When the crabber is getting his pots ready for the season, he just clamps on new rings. Yes it will take a few minutes per pot but the loss of impact of a ghost pot is a greated reward.
I try not to get caught in a debate about Va's so called crabbing regulations because not much of it makes sense. Va's crab fishery allows too many questionable harvesting practices, period. Does Va also allow non-commercial fishermen to randomly deploy unsuitable gear in open water? Sounds like something Va would allow. In Maryland recs are not allowed to deploy crab pots in open water. Waterfront landowners may stake up to two pots (clearly marked) away from their pier by a limited distance. But this is rare. Most non-commercial crab pots in Maryland are tied to piers. Replacement cost of pots are enough incentive for property owners to keep those pots tied securely to piers, and to retrieve the pots when they come loose. Your two pots out of tens of thousands of pots that we are talking about were an anomaly. A non-issue. If non-commercial crab pots are an issue you have not made that case. The only known ghost pot issue is regarding commercial gear. On that note, I have not seen any commercial fishing reps signing up to this unfunded mandate.
Originally Posted by timber
With the effort and political clout required to make comms eat this kind of mandate, I'm thinking proponents of improving ghost pots will have squandered years of effort toward a meaningful solution that incentivizes comms not to lose the gear in the first place. I'm just thinking out loud, but maybe 900 pots are too many for one license to tend. Maybe 100 pots per crabbber are too many for the police to enforce. Maybe crustacean fisheries need hard limits i.e. maybe we need to learn from science and history.
Matt - I did not dismiss your suggestion. I encourage you to pursue it! And I also agreed that it is ridiculous that losing/abandoning pots is somehow acceptable.
Originally Posted by Matt
Degradable panels are a proven method to reduce the impact of lost/abandoned pots on crabs and other critters that get trapped. Other states have been requiring them for 20 years to good effect. And it's easy to enforce. After a transition period, all pots would have to have them.
I don't mind repeating, I don't see crabbers signing up to modify all their gear. Basically, those who really think dissolving doors is a solution will have to throw a bunch of political clout at it. While those people are making their case, there will be watermen opposing it, and others like me calling attention to how degradable panels does not attempt to solve the bigger problem. This will only treat symptoms. The problem is too much gear getting lost. Ghost pot bycatch is a secondary problem. Fix the problem. The secondary problem will go away.
I'm curious how anybody thinks there's a good reason or any acceptable rationale why so much gear should be getting lost. I think that if this can't be controlled, commercial crab gear should be outlawed. Like lead weights. Or maybe we just keep ignoring the rate of gear loss until we ruin the bay with commercial fishing pollution.
Matt - Sadly crabbers look at lost pots as a cost of doing business.
Just to make math easy - say a pot costs $30.00. Crabs sell for $40.00 a bushel - give / take 6 dozen.
If the pot can catch just one bushel in two weeks or so - it has paid for itself. Say the pot goes 3-4 months before being lost - crabber is far ahead by then.
There are a few crabbers who set pots very close to Sandy Point inlet / boat ramp entrance. I was told - they accept the risk of lost pots because often high dollar #1 Jimmy crabs go in there to seek out peelers.
What could be more mundane than dying of old age or of natural causes when there is death by misadventure to be pursued ? Skip
Skip, I've never quite understood how, in the eyes of commercial fishermen, pollution is a big deal... but this is a non-issue.
The issue here is lost gear. Pollution bykill is still only a secondary issue.
What would it take to lose less gear?