06-21-2012, 08:17 PM
06-21-2012, 08:53 PM
The loss of crab pots has revealed that there are some real problems with the crab pot fishery that can be solved, likely to the benefit of all parties. I have an open mind to all solutions. I have offered a bunch of ideas, but I know none of them alone will fix the crab pot fishery.
Originally Posted by pitched up
I'm not sure what's preventing you from having a legitimate conversation about this topic, and I don't really care. However, if anyone really wants to discuss ways to improve the fishery to cut down on lost gear and the ecological problems that go with it, reduce user conflict, and possibly even create more full time crabbing jobs, I'd love to have that conversation. Lost gear and lots of other problems with the crab (pot) fishery causing it to underperform.
06-22-2012, 11:52 AM
I agree with your message Scott. Constructive debate about commercial crabbing, however, is infrequent.
Experts across the board have agreed commercial crabbing is overcapitalized, with too much gear and too much effort, active and latent. Adding a complex variable like lost gear begs for discussion, if not an overhaul in the way the pot fishery is managed. Yet commercial interests offer no solution, accept no proposals, and desire to squash any discussion about fishery problems and potential solutions. Another example why commercial fishing is its own worst enemy.
06-24-2012, 09:20 PM
FWIW: On Saturday just south of bay bridge - saw this first hand.
Current was outgoing at a very strong rate. Some crab pot floats out in 20 feet were being pulled just under the surface of the water.
They would shimmy and wiggle as current pushed them - then pop back up after about 30 seconds or so.
A boat about 22 feet or so was drifting for bottom fish and the lower unit got tangled in a crab pot line.
I saw the boat slowly spin around and the angler raised the engine and leaned out and cut the line free.
The float drifted out from his boat and went past my anchored boat. Add one more lost pot to total.
What could be more mundane than dying of old age or of natural causes when there is death by misadventure to be pursued ? Skip
06-25-2012, 04:16 PM
I too saw a pot get cut this weekend, by the magothy river. I am glad I'm not the only one who witnesses this.
On a side note skip, when the lines are tighter like that in my short time running pots, I have found they are less likely to get sucked into props. Seems its longer more loose lines on the surface that get picked up more often.
06-25-2012, 07:58 PM
I don't have access to the nmma statistics, but without a doubt, recreational boating has increased a great deal in the last 10-15 years. However, the state has not issued an inordinate amount of crabbing licenses, so there has not been an exponential increase in pots.
The fact is, pots don't last long in the main stem of the bay. The watermen that participated in the recovery (at least in the mid-bay region) seldom recovered complete pots. Generally, they were just irons, that frequently tore apart just hauling them to the boat. When they pull something in, they record in a booklet what it is, and in what state it's in. This is something that isn't mentioned in the study. Based on the video, it would be easy to assume that every pot recovered was in great shape and loaded with life. That is very rarely the case. Once the bait is gone, it stops catching. That doesn't take long either. Then the small zinc eats away, followed by the pot. For every pot brought up that had an oyster toad in it (which is what it usually was if there was something in it), there was a pot with spat struck on it...
Only point I'm trying to make, as I mentioned before, is that there's a number of people that believe the study and it's subsequent findings have been sensationalized. Not unheard of considering some organizations use grant money to do their studies, and need to show some fruits to the labor in order to keep things going.
As far as across the board expert agreement that the industry is overcapitalized, I haven't seen it, but would be willing to read the testimony with an open mind. I'm also open to discussion (engaged in one here, actually) about the concerns, but still feel that I haven't seen what I (and many others) consider definitive proof that the problem is as great as some believe, and that the onus is wholly on the potters to stop making their living to appease a relatively small group.
Skips' post is an example I'll use.
The boat he saw drifted through the pots becoming entangled. I always raise my motor when drifting around pots, a potential hazard, and since I'm underway and making way, it is still my resposibility to be aware of my surroundings.
Then, rather than take the time to untangle the pot, the boater chose to simply cut the line.
To me, and many others, that boater is responsible for that lost pot.
If the "experts" think crabbing and how its done is overcapitalized, mis-managed and in need of an overhaul, I say let the so called experts (who were they again?) in their infinite wisdom provide a solution.
06-25-2012, 08:07 PM
Ahh the experts... they are truly enlightened. Must be like the superfriends or the avengers. Maybe we could give them a cool name like "super fishfriends".
06-26-2012, 07:59 AM
Now you're just making stuff up. There are about 200,000 boats registered in Maryland and that number has been declining. Further, new boats are not replenishing that number as quickly as they used to, such that the state just passed a law increasing registration fees to make up some of the difference.
Originally Posted by buckshotgumbo
With regard to what was being found in ghost pots - I refer you back to the VIMS study:
As the owner of a couple of pots - I can tell you definitively that the statement "Once the bait is gone, it stops catching" is incorrect. A baitless pot attracts crabs and other critters constantly.
06-26-2012, 08:49 AM
Chris, you could have also picked on his statement about "an inordinate amount of crabbing licenses" ...numerous peer reviewed studies have concluded the States HAVE issued too many licenses. That why fishery experts have reached strong consensus the fishery is overcapitalized. Overcapitalization is why the States have initiated buy-back programs. Overcapitalization is why the fishery collapsed, and why a complete rebound and a sustainable condition is unlikely. These are facts worth repeating, even if thread opponents and commercial apologists choose to ignore. Bottomline, the facts strongly suggest there IS an inordinate number of crab licenses.
As far as anecdotal claims of boaters becoming entangled in gear, I also don't mind repeating, the people who placed that gear in harms way are still responsible. The people polluting the bay for profit are responsible for their pollution. People may choose to meet in the middle and merely suggest there is simply a user conflict. Unfortunately I do not see comms meeting anybody in the middle. They have repeated simple dogma that lost gear is not their fault. They place blame squarely on recreational boaters, suggesting they are entitled to put their gear anywhere, anytime. Like littering the bay with too much gear is all part of the commercial fishing entitlement. I for one will never accept this kind of entitlement. Until comms figure out a reasonable way to manage the conflict, they are responsible, period.
06-26-2012, 08:56 AM
I have no info on that.
Originally Posted by Matt