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Time to start some ****. Headline in Evening Capital reads Blue Crab Numbers Increase 35%. DNR officials discuss possibility of loosening regulations. What in the f... Does it take to convince these jackasses that we cannot continue on this path forever. As soon as a species shows good signs of a recovery they want to jump in and rape the resource. This is the exact reason the oysters can't recover. We had a mild winter and the crab mortality was low. This is great but what happens if we loosen the regs and then have a severe winter. Boom we're right back to ground zero. Just like the oyster sanctuaries. They appear to be working but there are forces working to end that program and open them up to harvesting. In fact they have stopped that program in certain areas for more studies. It's time to stop the studies. The norm is to do a scientific study and then dispute the results when they don't come up with the answers we want. Any fu....g idiot knows that the more you conserve the more you're going to have. It's like they didn't learn one friggin thing from the rockfish moritorium. It worked and it will work for every species out there. No I'm not calling for another moratorium on any particular species. I'm saying allow the regs to work for many years before jumping the gun.

While I'm on a rant I'm sick and tired of reading and hearing about how bad our waters are. Do this: buy a fish bowl and a goldfish. Don't clean the bowl and watch what happens. Eventually the fish will deplete the oxygen in the water. You'll know when you see the fish gulping for air at the surface. Now how many fish have you seen gulping for air on our open waters of the bay and its tributaries? Years ago you would see menhaden doing that quite frequently. I don't see that anymore. We also don't have the big menhaden die offs like we used to. I'm not saying that the waters are as pristine as we would like but I am saying that good reports will lead to less money being spent on water pollution. There are far more positives out there then are being reported. Look at the chain pickerel. They practically disappeared from the western shore rivers. Not only have they made a great comeback but they appear to be thriving. They are an apex predator. They need live food to survive. Judged on the fishing reports I read the fish are eating well which means there are ample supplies of forage fish for them. Which in turn means the forage fish must be surviving in adequate numbers. So we can deduce that this is a successful food chain from rivers we are led to believe that are to polluted to sustain life. Go figure. I know the South River hadsn't received a passing grade since John Smith charted it.

What we have is a situation where by the various government agencies and politicians at the federal, state and local levels are attempting to decide how much pollution can the waters of the U.S. absorb without killing them altogether. A perfect example is the soda ash deal in Va. How could anyone in their right f.....g mind think that dumping it into a river was okay? Unf.....g real. Just like that mess over in Centreville a few years ago with the sewage dumping into the Corsica River. Church Creek off the South River is in bad shape due to run off from the Parole area's impervious surfaces. And what are they currently doing? They are creating more impervious surfaces at the corner of rt. 2 and Admiral Dr. with more to be created across the street when they build townhouses on the Knights of Columbus land. What we have is governments that preach clean water while being the number one abusers of clean water.

Now I've proceeded to ruin my day by getting my dander up. Hope I didn't spoil yours.

Go catch a big one this weekend before they figure a way to ruin that fishery.
 

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You hit it right on the head... The numbers are up and "yeah that's great".. Now lets loosen the regs on females so they can catch more.. Sounds a little backwards to me, but I guess these "experts" really know what they're talking about.. Its just unbelievable to me....
 

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Im not taking up for the DNR but i think either you misread the article or didnt get all of it. They clearly stated that they know the crabs still arent where they want them to be numbers wise. It also said they were donna discuss if or not to loosen up regulations but any thing that would be changed would be small as they understand the crabs arent where they need them to be.
I agree with you though that they should leave everything in place and continue to expand on the population growth.
 

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Been saying it for years - the DNR does not work for the citizens or the well-being of the bay, it works for the watermen. Look at the silly reg changes that the watermen get that are so full of loopholes they are worthless. The millions of pots are out there soaking 24/7, while they run miles of trotlines 6 days a week. Conversely, the citizens get a total female moratorium... no peelers, no nothing. But we can buy as many as we want. The DNR steps on the citizens' access to the resources first before it does anything effective to the watermens' access. If that weren't true, then the citizens would be getting back the female restrictions they lost before the watermen would be getting their second increase in female harvest two years in a row. I think it's time for an allocation adjustment in the citizens' favor this time.
 

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I am with you. I read it and i got pissed too.

We need some real, simple, sustainable enforceable controls but we are held hostage by special interests and lobbies. And articles like this tend to skew perception of the uneducated public which pisses me off (like you).

I could rant as well, on the stupid and uneven limits and controls that are in place, but will leave that for another day. I have to get ready to fish.

:>
 

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I read the same article and my initial reaction was similar. I think the counter-argument is that blue crabs mature very quickly and don't live long, so we can take greater advantage of population explosions. I don't necessarily buy that argument, but it's how a biologist or fishery manager might distinguish blue crab management from, say, striped bass.
 

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I wouldn't be so quick to get irritated.

Blue crabs have an entire lifespan of between 10 - 18 months, depending on when & where exactly they are spawned. They would die of old age if not caught. They have very short lifespans, & relatively quickly populations can change. Oysters lifespans are different & take longer to get to maturity & they change sexes from male to female so populations have greater fluctuations. Compare that to stripers, they look at the fingerlings to predict populations 6 or 7 years later.

Back to crabs: my opinion, would be to close all female harvest to commercial crabbers as well & number would go through the roof. Incidentally, along the coast females can be kelp by recs.
 

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I don't agree with the general consensus here and I'm sure that will be unpopular but so be it. DNR is using science-based management of the blue crab population. Seems like that is what most are currently asking for with management of the oyster population. Watermen are restricted when the crab population dips and have been....so it seems only fair that they finally get a break when science shows a decent rebound. Crab don't live long so what is the big deal? They aren't rockfish and much of the rebound is related to both the restrictions and the weather. Maryland is for Crabs.
 

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Time to start some ****. Headline in Evening Capital reads Blue Crab Numbers Increase 35%. DNR officials discuss possibility of loosening regulations. What in the f... Does it take to convince these jackasses that we cannot continue on this path forever. As soon as a species shows good signs of a recovery they want to jump in and rape the resource. This is the exact reason the oysters can't recover. We had a mild winter and the crab mortality was low. This is great but what happens if we loosen the regs and then have a severe winter. Boom we're right back to ground zero. Just like the oyster sanctuaries. They appear to be working but there are forces working to end that program and open them up to harvesting. In fact they have stopped that program in certain areas for more studies. It's time to stop the studies. The norm is to do a scientific study and then dispute the results when they don't come up with the answers we want. Any fu....g idiot knows that the more you conserve the more you're going to have. It's like they didn't learn one friggin thing from the rockfish moritorium. It worked and it will work for every species out there. No I'm not calling for another moratorium on any particular species. I'm saying allow the regs to work for many years before jumping the gun.

While I'm on a rant I'm sick and tired of reading and hearing about how bad our waters are. Do this: buy a fish bowl and a goldfish. Don't clean the bowl and watch what happens. Eventually the fish will deplete the oxygen in the water. You'll know when you see the fish gulping for air at the surface. Now how many fish have you seen gulping for air on our open waters of the bay and its tributaries? Years ago you would see menhaden doing that quite frequently. I don't see that anymore. We also don't have the big menhaden die offs like we used to. I'm not saying that the waters are as pristine as we would like but I am saying that good reports will lead to less money being spent on water pollution. There are far more positives out there then are being reported. Look at the chain pickerel. They practically disappeared from the western shore rivers. Not only have they made a great comeback but they appear to be thriving. They are an apex predator. They need live food to survive. Judged on the fishing reports I read the fish are eating well which means there are ample supplies of forage fish for them. Which in turn means the forage fish must be surviving in adequate numbers. So we can deduce that this is a successful food chain from rivers we are led to believe that are to polluted to sustain life. Go figure. I know the South River hadsn't received a passing grade since John Smith charted it.

What we have is a situation where by the various government agencies and politicians at the federal, state and local levels are attempting to decide how much pollution can the waters of the U.S. absorb without killing them altogether. A perfect example is the soda ash deal in Va. How could anyone in their right f.....g mind think that dumping it into a river was okay? Unf.....g real. Just like that mess over in Centreville a few years ago with the sewage dumping into the Corsica River. Church Creek off the South River is in bad shape due to run off from the Parole area's impervious surfaces. And what are they currently doing? They are creating more impervious surfaces at the corner of rt. 2 and Admiral Dr. with more to be created across the street when they build townhouses on the Knights of Columbus land. What we have is governments that preach clean water while being the number one abusers of clean water.

Now I've proceeded to ruin my day by getting my dander up. Hope I didn't spoil yours.

Go catch a big one this weekend before they figure a way to ruin that fishery.
Catch the neighborhood kids on the lawn again did we? Had an uncle we had to slip him ludes and anisette sometimes to calm him down...
 

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I am not a scientist, nor do I crab. However with the 3 fishing trips a week all summer we saw a lot more swimmers than we had in a long time last year. Hopefully it is a good thing for the crab population (and the cost per bushel)
 

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What might help the crabs is a fixed price per bushel - not market pricing.

What we might see if the crabs are plentiful this summer - is crabbers bringing more bushels in to make same money. They take more crabs from the water and soon we are back to a shortage.

The price can vary a lot - imagine going into work each week and your hourly pay gets decreased.

Let's hope the survey numbers are correct - and DNR does not increase catch - which only floods the market and drops the price.
 

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Have to see what happens with the crabs this year before changing what is currently in place, would be my thought. If I remember right, scientists said crabbing would be good last year, except it didn't happen till the end of August.

All I can say is crabs have been up and down since the 70's. But according to some, the Virginia crabbers are slaying them, so it sounds like it may be a good year. If they are abundant all season, LOL.
 

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I have always felt that if the water quality was so bad why did the rock fish rebound so well with the moratorium. Plus the yellow perch with the closing of some rivers.
I live on the Pax and have been seeing commercial trot liners for the past 3 weeks weeks, earliest I have ever seen.
 

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Its really a very basic premise that is almost universal in fish and wildlife management to protect the breeding females to conserve and better manage fish, shellfish and game--ducks, wild turkey, pheasant, deer, moose, elk, blue crabs, king crabs, tanner crabs, snow crabs, American lobster, bears w cubs, etc.

MD DNR eliminated female hardshell harvest by recs years ago (a decade) to conserve crabs, but it relaxed the commercial regs on female harvest as soon as the population started an upward trend. Recs have quietly supported the hard shell female moratorium while comms continue to harvest a lot of hard shell females

MD DNR never relaxed the rec prohibition on hardshell female harvest, including peelers that recs like me catch as doublers. Even a buster that will be a shedding in less than an hour must go back. It would shed in a bucket of water on the boat within an hour or so but that is prohibited by law for recs.

So if I want peelers or softshell females (male peelers don't feed so recs don't catch them on bait) I need to pay $4-8 each retail or buy them at wholesale from shedding operations such as from Marlene at Dryden Seafood in Chrisfield MD.

Yet a few years after the rec moratorium, the commercial harvest was relaxed for mature females in recent years and the commercial harvest of peelers has been high even during the population low point--those peelers go to shedding operations to produce high dollar softies for the commercial market.

Blue crabs have a life history where the females only mate once in their lifetimes and then they become sooks (mature fertile females) that travel to the mouth of the bay to spawn--never to return to MD waters again. They may have multiple spawns from the single impregnation but they stay in VA between spawns, they don't swim back and forth from VA to MD and back to VA.

The MD DNR crabbinig regs are highly biased against recs relative to female crab harvest...its a classic allocation issue with recs screwed. At least let me keep 3 or 5 peelers to shed in my basement when I drive 150 miles round trip to go crabbing. Its part of the Ches Bay cultural and recreational heritage to be able to harvest peelers for bait or shedding at home (in a rubbermaid container with a bubbler or in a shedding flat off a dock) that has been denied to recs by the MD DNR management focus on comm harvest.

Right now in MD the retail cost of adult females=sooks (already fertile crabs that would go to the mouth of the Bay to spawn if they were not harvested) is about $1.30 each. I can't keep the peelers that would be adult females (sooks) in a few hours or days but the comms can keep many bushels per day.

Recs are getting screwed and as the population recovers and MD DNR rushes to relax commercial harvest they should let the recs keep a few. Crazy Talk!!

Mel has already had specials on sooks at less then the price on his website--around $1.30 each; later in the season the price will drop to well under a dollar:
http://www.melscrabs.com/

I was told there was a MD DNR crab management meeting this week to discuss harvest issues and I would have considered attending. However I am out of town on work travel this week in so I could not make it to Annapolis.

I have been happy to do my part to conserve crabs by not harvestiing females over the past decade and I sure hope I can start to keep a few peelers in years to come as the population rebounds
 

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Steve - Commercials are restricted on the numbers of sooks they can take, it's a smaller percentage, and are required to provide daily catch reports. Those crabs are sold, so it's not difficult to check reports with buyers to determine accuracy. Falsifying reports puts points on a license. Recs are limited on numbers of crabs overall but do not have to report catches, male or female (when females were allowed), so if restrictions on females were lifted, it makes the scientific side of crab management more difficult.
 
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