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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/pressrelease2008/121508.html

DNR Proposes Blue Crab Harvest Regulations for 2009 Season
Proposal Requires Complimentary Recreational Crabbing License; Sets Daily Female Blue Crab Bushel Limits & Seasonal Closures for Commercial Crabbers
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Annapolis, Md. - Today, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources proposed recreational and commercial blue crab harvest regulations for the 2009 season. Designed to help rebuild the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population and fishery, the proposed regulations continue the scientifically established conservation goals of reducing female blue crab harvest by 34 percent and ensuring that no more than 46 percent of the blue crab population is harvested annually.
"These regulations reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that Maryland's iconic blue crab, and the local businesses and favorite family and community gatherings who rely upon it, continue for generations to come," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "From these regulations, we expect scientifically measurable benefits, and a more sustainable future for both blue crabs and watermen. The environmental need for these regulations, combined with federal and state assistance for impacted watermen, provides the most sensible path to restore the Chesapeake's blue crab population."

The proposed regulations for the 2009 Chesapeake Bay commercial blue crab fishery include daily bushel limits for mature female hard crabs and seasonal closures.

"Recognizing the influence of harvest restrictions, we designed the 2009 regulations to make the impact more manageable and equitable throughout the bay and season, while still protecting the most reproductively valuable female blue crabs," said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. "We worked with watermen and other interested groups throughout the summer and fall of 2008 to develop next year's regulations."

The proposed regulations close the commercial season for harvesting mature female hard crabs from June 1 through June 15, Sept. 26 through Oct. 4, and Nov. 11 to Dec. 15, 2009. Additionally, in order to protect blue crabs from overfishing, DNR proposes to limit excess harvest capacity by temporarily freezing unused licenses. Limited Commercial Crabbing license holders (LCC's) who did not harvest between 2004 and 2008 will be designated as inactive until the blue crab population recovers.

Female blue crab daily catch limits will be set by public notice after DNR receives results of the winter dredge survey in April. These bushel limits will be based on a waterman's license type. If results from the 2009 blue crab winter dredge survey indicate a significant improvement in the bay's blue crab population, DNR may consider liberalizing commercial bushel limits and season dates. Likewise, if the survey indicates continued population decrease, further harvest restrictions would be necessary.

The proposed regulations require all recreational crabbers not currently licensed to register for a complimentary license from DNR online or at one of the DNR seven license service centers across the state. Additionally, the prohibition on female blue crab harvest (except soft crabs) for recreational crabbers established in 2008 will remain in place.

"We need more precise, annual bay-wide recreational blue crab harvest information in order to better manage this fishery," explained Tom O'Connell, Maryland Fisheries Service Director. "By requiring that all recreational crabbers are either licensed or registered, we can increase the accuracy of our survey and more reliably obtain the information our biologists need."

The current abundance of adult or reproductive-age blue crabs is 120 million crabs, only slightly above the established minimum safe threshold of 86 million reproductive-age crabs, is 70 percent lower than 1990 levels and well below the conservation target of 200 million crabs.

"Protecting female blue crabs offers the best opportunity for the quickest recovery," continued Griffin. "We will continue to work with scientists, recreational crabbers, the commercial crab industry, conservationists, and local businesses to ensure a sustainable future for our blue crabs so that the species can continue to fulfill its ecological role within the Bay while also supporting the local economies that rely upon it."

The proposed regulations will be published in the Maryland Register on Jan. 16, 2009. DNR will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulations at 6 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the Queen Anne County Public Library - Kent Island Branch's meeting room. Sign language interpreters and other appropriate accommodations for individuals will be provided upon request. Public comments may also be submitted via mail to Sarah Widman, Fisheries Service, B-2, Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, Md. 21401, by calling 410-260-8260, by faxing to 410-260-8278 or emailing to [email protected].

Earlier this year, in response to a request from Governors O'Malley and Kaine, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service declared a federal fishery disaster for Chesapeake Bay watermen and women who rely on blue crabs. The $10 million in federal funding accompanying the declaration will be used to help keep watermen working through habitat restoration projects, fishery monitoring and retraining for industry diversification into aquaculture opportunities. In November, more than 100 watermen began oyster bar rehabilitation work in the Severn and Patuxent Rivers and Tangier Sound, as part of Governor O'Malley's plan to keep watermen working.

Reducing female blue crab harvest is one of many actions taken by the O'Malley Administration to help restore the Chesapeake Bay. Recent successes include strengthening the Critical Area Law to protect the most sensitive and significant shoreline habitats; implementing BayStat to more effectively target our resources and efforts; creating the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund; and launching GreenPrint to help guide land conservation and growth. For more information about these smart, green, and growing initiatives visit Maryland: Smart, Green and Growing.

Maryland's blue crab season runs from April 1 to Dec. 15. For more information about Maryland's efforts to rebuild the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population and historic blue crab harvest data, visit In Focus - Blue Crab. A detailed summary of the proposed regulations is online at FISHERIES SERVICE REGULATORY PROPOSALS.

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December 15, 2008 Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
[email protected]
 

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Hmm, maybe it's in the details but I thought they were doing away with recs using 1200' of trotline AND 30 traps. And changing it to one or the other.
 

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I hope they take the female reduction initiatives seriously and don't losen things up too quickly. It took several years for rockfish and geese to rebound and that was with a multi-year closed season. It will take more than one season of restrictions to get the crab population going in the right direction. My .02

John
 

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Glad to see they are following suit with VA and freezing the inactive licenses. I know of several people who have them and don't use them and others who say they wish they had never given them up.

At least with those people, they are only want them for quick money, not to make a living. In these times, freeze them, no need to allow more than what is needed. Wish they would make the licenses fee mandatory instead of complimentary. God knows DNR needs the money, and bad.

Hope they cut the recs to one bushel and keep the equipment the same. Get in, get out, save the gas, cut pollution.

Chris
 

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No reason to limit the gear. Recs have catch limits.
Hmm....I guess you are from the school of thought that it doesn't matter about gear/limits....you will still catch your limit, it will just take you longer. More destructed shoreline, more fuel burned thus more emisssions, etc. etc.
 

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Hmm....I guess you are from the school of thought that it doesn't matter about gear/limits....you will still catch your limit, it will just take you longer. More destructed shoreline, more fuel burned thus more emisssions, etc. etc.
SO what is your reasoning (if you have one) for a limit on gear? Too much temptation for poaching?
 

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Hmm....I guess you are from the school of thought that it doesn't matter about gear/limits....you will still catch your limit, it will just take you longer. More destructed shoreline, more fuel burned thus more emisssions, etc. etc.
Some days traps work better than a line. It's like taking a few spinning rods along when you go trolling.
 

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Some days traps work better than a line. It's like taking a few spinning rods along when you go trolling.
Nothing wrong with that. just don't use them both at the same time. troll or spin, trot or trap. I don't think there is anything in the regs that says you can't have both in the boat, just use one or the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My read on this is that the state of MD is finally trying to get a handle on rec crabbing effort and and developing a methodology to monitor catch (by creating a mechanism to contact license holders), including shoreline owners with crabpoats that fish 24/7, with no proposed changes to the rec mgt measures (which, with restrictions on bag limits, days of the week, and time of day, currently allow licensed recs to crab with up to 1200 ft of line AND up to 30 net rings or rec traps)--its about time!
 

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No reason to limit the gear. Recs have catch limits.
I can't see any reason to limit gear......heck just let the first 10 boats out of dundee put 300 traps out each.......then see what happens.

Why do you think they limit gear to 30 traps or 1200' of line anyway?

More crabbers in the same amount of space. Each time the number of crabbers increase, the amount of gear should decrease.
 

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here is the text of some additional regulation proposals that are coming, supposedly "housekeeping" & clarification of existing rules,, but there are some changes that some may find siginificant--check out the new size regulations & design requirements for collapsible traps, & trotline rules

[words in brackets are to be deleted] underlined text is to be added

the public hearing for these proposed rules is the same date & time as the other proposed rules. Jan 27 2009

08.02.03.01 (11/19/08)
.01 Crabbing Gear.
A. (text unchanged)
B. Recreational Gear-Definitions.
(1) The gear defined in this section may be used to catch crabs for recreational purposes.
(2) "Collapsible crab trap" means a manually operated, portable device:
(a) Having a flat bottom not more than [1 square foot] 20 inches by 15 inches, and [not more than] with four articulated sides[, each with an area not more than 1 square foot]; and
(b) (text unchanged)
(3) "Crab net ring" means netting supported by a ring-shaped rim less than 24 inches in diameter.
(4) - (8) (text unchanged)
C. Commercial Gear.
(1) - (2) (text unchanged)
(3) "Barrel" means a container with a minimum capacity of 32 gallons and which holds not more than 2-1/2 U.S. standard bushels of crabs.
[(3)] (4) - [(5)] (6) (text unchanged)
08.02.03.03 (11/19/08)
.03 Trotlines.
A. An individual may not set or fish a trotline, crab net ring, or collapsible crab trap within 100 feet of another individual's [a] trotline.
B. (text unchanged)​

C. In the coastal bays of the Atlantic Ocean and their tidal tributaries:
(1) An individual may not use or possess on board a vessel a trotline or trotlines with a baited portion more than 600 feet in length [for the baited portion of a trotline] to catch or attempt to catch crabs for recreational purposes; or
(2) If two or more individuals are on a boat, not more than two trotlines with a baited portion more [not longer] than 600 feet each [for the baited portion of trotline] may be used or possessed on board a vessel to catch or attempt to catch crabs for recreational purposes [per boat].
D. In the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries:
(1) (text unchanged)
(2) An individual licensed to catch crabs for recreational purposes may not use or possess on board a vessel a trotline or trotlines with a baited portion more than 1,200 feet in length [for the baited portion of a trotline] to catch or attempt to catch crabs for recreational purposes; and
(3) (text unchanged)
E. - F. (text unchanged)
08.02.03.07 (11/19/08)
.07 Crab Pots.
A. - F. (text unchanged)
G. Crab pots may not be set in the following areas:
(1) - (12) (text unchanged)​

(13) In the waters of the Wicomico River that are east of a line beginning at the southernmost point of St. Margaret Island and ending at the northeasterly most point of land on St. Catherine Island; [and]
(14) In the following areas of Pocomoke Sound: Ape Hole Creek, upstream of a line running from Long Point to Gap Point; Gunby Creek, upstream of a line running between the two State-maintained markers marking the mouth of Gunby Creek; East Creek, upstream of a line running from East Creek Point southeasterly to the westernmost point of land on Richardson Marsh; Marumsco Creek, upstream of a line running from a point on the western shore of Marumsco Creek at Lat. 37°58'38"N. and Long. 75°43'22"W. due east to the opposite shore at a point Lat. 37°58'38"N and Long. 75°42'55"W[.]; and
(15) Within 100 yards of the Flag Ponds Nature Park fishing pier in Calvert County.
H. (text unchanged)​
JOHN R. GRIFFIN
Secretary of Natural Resources​
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
RJ,

Thanks for providing the info on the reg changes. Good clarification on gear restrictions with some common-sense changes--now I don't need to worry about setting any of my (legally allowed) 30 net rings and traps too close to my trotline.
 

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Nothing wrong with that. just don't use them both at the same time. troll or spin, trot or trap. I don't think there is anything in the regs that says you can't have both in the boat, just use one or the other.
What about this thought.

What if I use 600' of baited length trotline with 15 traps????? Will there be an allowance to use both if the maximum amount of equipment is not exceed.

1200' of trotline OR 30 traps equates to 40' of line per trap. Could you use 10 traps with 800'??

Just a thought. If they don't clarify this, I will try it at least once and be willing to challenge it in court at least once.

Have I missed the wording that says I can't use both????? Right now I think it only says 1200' or 30 traps, doesn't mention allowable combinations.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Done workin,

I have called Diane Samuels at DNR to check, she confirmed that the regs allow a licensed rec crabber to use up to 1200 ft of trotline AND up to 30 net rings/traps in the MD Ches Bay and tribs. In some of the proposed reg changes that DNR posted earlier this year they used the word "or," but indicated that they were not proposing changes to the regs (suggesting that was a drafing error in their notification).

The suggested change in the post by RJ (.03A) suggests that they are changing the regs to make it legal to place your own traps closer than 100 ft to your own trotline. Also note that section .03C applies to the Atlantic coastal bays, not to the Ches. Bay.

If in doubt call DNR and ask them, which I have done (and other recs on this board have also called to check). There seem to be folks that post on the crabboard that think it is one or the other gear type for recs, but based on what DNR has told me that is incorrect.

If the crabbing is good I don't bother with traps, but I use them if I am having trouble finding/catching crabs with my trotline, which has happened to me a lot in recent years. Of course I am crab challenged and just can't catch them as well as some folks that spend a lot more time on the water.
 

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My read on this is that the state of MD is finally trying to get a handle on rec crabbing effort and and developing a methodology to monitor catch (by creating a mechanism to contact license holders), including shoreline owners with crabpoats that fish 24/7, with no proposed changes to the rec mgt measures (which, with restrictions on bag limits, days of the week, and time of day, currently allow licensed recs to crab with up to 1200 ft of line AND up to 30 net rings or rec traps)--its about time!
Not the way I read the proposal, which was found here.
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/regulations/2009draftcrabregulatoryproposal.pdf I see it as saying either/or, but not both

Lic. Req.
Type
Cost
Gear
Catch Limit
Yes
Basic
Res./NonResident.
Free1
Handline, 10 Collapsible Traps/Net Rings
2 doz. Hard; 1 Doz. Peeler, Soft Crab, or Comb.
Yes
Resident Ind. Property Owner
Free1
2 Crab Pots, Handline, or 10 Collapsible Traps/Net Rings
2 doz. Hard; 1 Doz. Peeler, Soft Crab, or Comb.
Yes
Resident Individual
$5.00
30 Collapsible Traps/Net Rings or 1200' trotline
1 bushel
Yes
NonResident Individual
$10.00
30 Collapsible Traps/Net Rings or 1200' trotline
1 bushel
Yes
Resident Crab Boat
$15.00 2
30 Collapsible Traps/Net Rings or 1200' trotline
1 bushel
Yes
NonResident Crab Boat
$30.00 2
30 Collapsible Traps/Net Rings or 1200' trotline
1 bushel
N/A
Bay Sport Boat
Not available for Crabbing
 

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Any combination of up to 30 traps and 1200' of trotline are legal.
I noticed the substitution of 'and' for 'or' in the proposed regs a while back. I will make sure to include a comment about that error again.
 

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Nothing wrong with that. just don't use them both at the same time. troll or spin, trot or trap. I don't think there is anything in the regs that says you can't have both in the boat, just use one or the other.
Be sure to post your number then for those who bait 1200' of line so you can bait it for them. Yea, bait it bring it along and not use it.:wacko:
 
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