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This good news story may have been posted already but if so, I missed it. Win-Win for sure.

The state of Maryland has found work for 604 watermen who've been struggling to make ends meet since the decline of the blue crab industry.

About 520 watermen will be put to work restoring oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. The Department of Natural Resources says another 84 will be given land-based assignments, including trail restoration and aquaculture construction.

Gov. O'Malley said in a statement the state is keeping Maryland's watermen working while giving the blue crab population time to rebuild.

The watermen are being hired through the state and the nonprofit Oyster Recovery Partnership with $3 million in state capital funding. Federal disaster funding will also support the program.
 

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Wow, looks like the state of Maryland is moving things in the right direction. Now they're not only employing the watermen who'd otherwise be hurting, but doing so for a noteworthy cause. Now all we can hope is that the funding remains there.
 

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Now if they will just stop harvesting these oysters for about 5 years and give them a chance to recover, maybe the Bay as a whole will be better off.
 

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Hopefully these oysters will live and prosper. I'm worried about introducing the Asian Oyster to the Bay.
 

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I hope "restoring" oyster reefs isn't just "plowing" them with dredges to knock the silt off. Seems like the silt would just settle back on the oysters, not to mention destroying all the little critters that live down there.
Pat in Joppa
 

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It works out to $5769 per or less than 5k if the 3 mill includes the other 80 plus watermen. Not much but possibly enough to keep their families fed this winter. Much better than bail-outs. I think it's great because oysters and menhaden will turn this thing around... one day. It can be done. We have to support any/all programs targeted towards getting these critters back in numbers. I bet watermen would support a 10 yr. moratorium if they could get a basic wage like this every year for rebuilding the stock.
 

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I'm wondering if the watermen will be raising oysters in float pens ?
With that much talent - a huge amount could be grown - then released on reefs :thumbup:.
 

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It works out to $5769 per or less than 5k if the 3 mill includes the other 80 plus watermen. Not much but possibly enough to keep their families fed this winter. Much better than bail-outs. I think it's great because oysters and menhaden will turn this thing around... one day. It can be done. We have to support any/all programs targeted towards getting these critters back in numbers. I bet watermen would support a 10 yr. moratorium if they could get a basic wage like this every year for rebuilding the stock.
I can see paying full timers to do this work as a good thing.

Provided the work is done right and non one skims a management cut off the top.

I really do want to see the watermen continue as a way of life. But one that is sustainable and done with an understanding of their impact.

And some aquaculture won't hurt either.
 

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I completely agree with Seastrike. I will never understand why the State does not treat crabs, oysters, fish, etc. just like waterfowl. When a particular species of waterfowl shows decreasing numbers, it simply gets shut down, e.g., canvasback. Very simple.

Doug Coats
 

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I don't have issue with subidising this industry, or for that matter "restoring" the oyster population. Unfortunately I am cynical when it comes to the states philosophy on restoration. Planting seed oysters until they reach harvestable size and scraping every last one of them isn't restoring the industry to a sustainable level. That should be the goal.
 

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I completely agree with Seastrike. I will never understand why the State does not treat crabs, oysters, fish, etc. just like waterfowl. When a particular species of waterfowl shows decreasing numbers, it simply gets shut down, e.g., canvasback. Very simple.

Doug Coats
You're right...unfortunately the Feds have to step in sometimes. This State hasn't showed me much, but look who we elect. Hopefully things will turn around but with the present financial troubles I'm afraid funds for the Bay will dry up.

Hopefully the native oysters will prosper, it's too easy to introduce a non-native species for the politicians and wish for the best. The politicians come and go. IMHO - I've only seen more problems introducing non-native species into an environment.
 

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I completely agree with Seastrike. I will never understand why the State does not treat crabs, oysters, fish, etc. just like waterfowl. When a particular species of waterfowl shows decreasing numbers, it simply gets shut down, e.g., canvasback. Very simple.

Doug Coats
Nobody makes a living shooting canvasbacks. It's a little more complicated than to just shut it down. Putting the watermen to work is a great idea. Who else knows more about crabs and oysters. There is a lot of talent there and if used properly will help restore the bay, give watermen work they enjoy and keep folks off unemployment and welfare. I think everybody on unemployment should work to help the State in some way. Prisoners also......Gary
 

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Crabby is right...it's not just the watermen, but all the interrelated industries and the local communities that their income dollars flow through; the grocer, mechanic, barber...whatever. We've seen it in the steel, airline and other industries and looking at the backlash in the auto industry as well, right down to our friends and neighbors.

As to the comment about crabbing...if you shut down the fishery to commercial crabbers, then shut it down to everyone. Nail each person who snags a bushel for "personal" use. I've seen more individuals take whatever comes into the boat; female, undersized...whatever.

I disagree that the industries, once back up, can't be sustained. If the stocks are sustained and growing then the industry can thrive with catch limits, both commercial and recreational.

Fair is fair. If we're gonna try and fix it, then let's all get onboard, no free passes. And if this program looks promising...and I really hope it is...then yes, let's look at a 5-7 year program with a moratorium to rebuild the fishery. But let's also start enforcing the critical areas regs and others that are polluting the watershed and making it tough for the program to succeed.

Nobody makes a living shooting canvasbacks. It's a little more complicated than to just shut it down. Putting the watermen to work is a great idea. Who else knows more about crabs and oysters. There is a lot of talent there and if used properly will help restore the bay, give watermen work they enjoy and keep folks off unemployment and welfare. I think everybody on unemployment should work to help the State in some way. Prisoners also......Gary
 

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Some missed my point. There "used to be" quite a few folks who made their living from market hunting - waterfowl and game, both. No longer...
 

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Crabby - I suggest you read "The Outlaw Gunner" by Harry M. Walsh. His excellent book details the occupation of the market gunner on the Chesapeake. Many, many men made their living from shooting canvasbacks.

Doug
 
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