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Riva
AnnapolisWatermen looking for extra work
By PAMELA WOOD, Staff Writer
Published October 30, 2008
Financial assistance for watermen hit hard by crabbing restrictions this year has been slow to materialize.

Money promised by the federal government is held up in Washington, and the state is just now asking watermen if they want to do some work for the government to earn extra cash.

"We need the federal government to speed it up because the watermen are out of work now," said Larry Simns, president of the Maryland Watermen's Association.

Watermen in Maryland and Virginia faced restrictions on catching female crabs this fall as part of an attempt to rebuild the population, which has dipped below desirable levels.

In Maryland, watermen faced bushel limits for part of the fall based on their past catches of female crabs. Then starting Oct. 23, the harvest of females was banned.

The crabbing season technically goes until Dec. 15, but many watermen switch to oystering or fishing by then. Virginia had slightly different restrictions.

Recreational crabbers in Maryland also were prohibited from keeping females.

The goal of the restrictions is to allow more females to survive to produce another generation of crabs. All told, officials sought a 34 percent cut in the female harvest.

The restrictions had a disproportionate impact on watermen on the Lower Eastern Shore.

Many of those watermen make significant money in the fall, when they take advantage of the female crabs migrating south to saltier waters for the winter. Those crabs usually are sold to processors to be picked for packaged crab meat.

To cope with the drop in income, watermen are jumping at the opportunity to pick up part-time work from the state to make ends meet.

The state has $3 million to use on employing watermen for environmental projects, such as preparing oyster sanctuaries to be planted with baby oysters and planting trees and wetlands at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge. Some work will start in early November and other projects will be in the spring.

Already, the state has received more than 250 applications from watermen interested in the work, said Olivia Campbell, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The application deadline is tomorrow.

For on-the-water work, boat captains will make $500 per day. They get no extra reimbursement for fuel or other expenses. Crew members get $150 each. For land-based work, the pay is $15 per hour.

Mr. Simns of the watermen's group said the DNR work is a good program, but he's worried it won't be enough.

"There's so many people, it won't help all of them," he said.

Meanwhile, Maryland's federal representatives successfully lobbied the federal government to declare a "fishery disaster" for Chesapeake Bay crabbers, and had the bay included in a $75 million package to assist commercial fishermen nationwide.

They sent a letter last week urging Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez to release $30 million of that money for bay watermen as quickly as possible. It hasn't been made clear yet how that money might be divided among crabbers.

"It is critical that $30 million in fishery disaster assistance funding be released immediately to help minimize and mitigate the impacts on our watermen and crabbing industry," read the letter, which was signed by both of Maryland's U.S. senators and seven congressmen.

Monica Allen, a spokesman for Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the money will be forthcoming.

"It's still in the process and we're hoping to get the decision fairly soon," she said."

---Quote--Monica Allen, a spokesman for Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the money will be forthcoming.

"It's still in the process and we're hoping to get the decision fairly soon," she said.

---When in the SPRING? --These men need WORK Now ---yeh , I know 11-4-- is coming , but 9-11 is here for some on the water --Support them --geo.
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How bout all the construction guys that are out of work? Not me, but I'm just sayin, why are the waterman entitled to this? If the fishery can't sustain all the workers, then it's time to pursue different work.
 

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I think I have commented a lot about this situation and the best I can sum things up is:

The situation stinks. People all over America are out of work. It sucks, its tough on families, kids, on relationships and everything.

It's not a "right" to have a job in America in an industry of ones desire. Everyone should have the "opportunity" to work in an industry of their desire. However, if you do not have the skills then you have to find something else and if the market does not allow one to have that "desired job (ie there is no longer enough resources to make it), then that individual has to find another line of work.

Brandon
 

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the fact that so many applications are in suggests that these people are really in need . Instead of just going on wellfare or unemployment they are willing to work. So much money is wasted every eary on things that make no difference why not use this money to help a segment of the population that is in need, and the bay at the same time. At least they arn't like the 50 people in line at the bank today cashing the gov't check and not working. This being said I hope many of the watermen find other jobs because I do not see their way of life continuing in this area too much longer. There is simply too many people in this area utilizing the resources of the chesapeake bay.
 

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Home building is way down,, people are not remodeling and we are taking a beating , (Im a tile distributor).
Got warehouses full of it.
Wheres my bailout?
funny thing is im still workin 56 hours a week.
 

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My question is like everyone else. WHY. The captin will get $500.00 per day. That equates to $130,000.00 per year. Work is down every where. It would have been cheaper for the government to give everyone money instead of the 700 billion for aig. Just doesnt make sense
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Home building is way down,, people are not remodeling and we are taking a beating , (Im a tile distributor).
Got warehouses full of it.
Wheres my bailout?
funny thing is im still workin 56 hours a week.
---If the State were to lift only your Licence to Distrubute tile , But allows you to continue to Remodel , would you feel a little Compassion
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My question is like everyone else. WHY. The captin will get $500.00 per day. That equates to $130,000.00 per year. Work is down every where. It would have been cheaper for the government to give everyone money instead of the 700 billion for aig. Just doesnt make sense
--After Expences?--Come on --Diesel is how much a Gallon? --Crabbers use hi- speed large block Detroits--
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think if they do work for the money, then that is fair.
--And a Honest days work is what you'll get, while I'm warming in front of the fire , the ice will be on the Transom, Ever been in a Snow storm on the Chesapeake , I suport that quote 100%
 

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My question is like everyone else. WHY. The captin will get $500.00 per day. That equates to $130,000.00 per year. Work is down every where. It would have been cheaper for the government to give everyone money instead of the 700 billion for aig. Just doesnt make sense
Trapshoot, what the article doesn't say is that only 5 days of work are guarunteed for the successful applicants. There is no way anyone is gonna make 130k a year in this program

--After Expences?--Come on --Diesel is how much a Gallon? --Crabbers use hi- speed large block Detroits--
Capt. george, I realize that you know this, but it seems others don't understand. there is no money for expences. 500/day covers all boat expences, he doesn't put 500 in his pocket. After all expenses are taken out, the captain will be lucky to make about 22/ hr

Id move my business to PA, DE, VA
Yeah, that's something a waterman can do, set pots in PA
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Id move my business to PA, DE, VA
But in those States you'd be the new kid on the block' & be considered a "Smow Bird".Let the men work w/o ridiclule --Most won't use the offer any way --To Proud--
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Trapshoot, what the article doesn't say is that only 5 days of work are guarunteed for the successful applicants. There is no way anyone is gonna make 130k a year in this program

Capt. george, I realize that you know this, but it seems others don't understand. there is no money for expences. 500/day covers all boat expences, he doesn't put 500 in his pocket. After all expenses are taken out, the captain will be lucky to make about 22/ hr

They Understand --Times are tough , & some maybe would take a Crew job for 15.00 hr. Beats going ashore to hang drywall ---
 

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here are some of the real details,,for most watermen it is not a good deal,,in order to get $500 a day ,one must have a boat with a working power dredge (power dredging is limited to the southern areas of the bay, most middle and upper bay waterman don't qualify)

most land based work is on the eastern shore, again this does not benefit the middle and upper bay waterman,, drive 2 hrs to get there & work for $120 a day (- $30 in taxes & -$50 in fuel & tolls= $40 for 8 hrs work???)

Maryland Offers Environmental Restoration Work to Watermen

NOTICE TO MARYLAND COMMERCIAL WATERMEN
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
--Will read this PM , thanks
 

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I'm on the fence(as far as opinion) on this one........Yes, the comm crabbers have harvested themselves out of buisness but..........but, they did so within the states law. You can say that they should have known that the were harvesting too many crabs but are the comms really going to go out and take less than law allows, knowing that the next guy is going to take all he can? Our law allowed the comms to overharvest but then just pulled the rug from them........My buisness is slooooow but the LAW did'nt come to me and say "Bill, you can no longer work on cars because there's not enough car repairs to go around". I really think these comms normally bank a good bit of money during this female movement of crabs, that they live off of through the winter and early spring. Personally, I think I'm gonna give them A BREAK, if there willing to work for the govn. hand out.........My wife is in the AACO school system......theres a family that there kid gets free/reduced lunch because off low income and they have a Corvette and a Hummer in there driveway....:yes:......Mom and Dad wont marry cause then mom will lose her welfare benny's..........these are the people we should B!tch about.:thumbup:


Bill
 

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I'm on the fence(as far as opinion) on this one........Yes, the comm crabbers have harvested themselves out of buisness but........

Bill
I agree with a lot of what you said except for this statement, mainly because you never mentioned the recreational crabbers huge impact. If you look at the harvests over the years you will find that comms are actually harvesting less crabs today then ever before, the recs on the other hand are harvesting far more then ever before. In reality the recs are the ones that harvested the comms out of business
 

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I thought that in years past, comms could harvest 100 bushels of females per day as they were exiting the bay??? If this is correct, how could rec catches even be remotely compared to comms harvest??? Could any fishery sustain those harvest levels of the females???
 

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Crabs are a resource.

Where do the harvested crabs go?

The recreational crabber eats his catch; not for profit.

The commercial guy sells his catch; for profit. The commercial guys crab meat could end up in a can and shipped anywhere in the world.

We have to stop sending our resources out of the country. There are not enough crabs in our bay to supply the world's demand.

The crabs have been overharvested by the commercial guys; and if they don't see the error in their business model, they are in denial.
 
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