Tidal Fish Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Tidal Fish Subscriber - I Support TidalFish.com!
Joined
·
7,173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
washingtonpost.com - nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines

Regulators Target Recreational Crabbers

Netting a blue crab in Crisfield might get a bit more complicated. (By Tim Tadder)

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 16, 2008; Page B02

A traditional birthright of all Marylanders -- the ability to catch a blue crab with a chicken neck, a string and a net -- could soon require a government license, under a proposal unveiled yesterday by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The department wants all recreational crabbers, even those who catch just a single Jimmy crab in a day, to register with the state. It would cost nothing to register, officials said. But it could cost crabbers if they don't: Those caught crabbing without the registration could be subject to undetermined fines.

Today in Maryland, any crabber who catches two dozen or fewer in a day is not required to register with anybody.

But state officials, who are trying to engineer a comeback for the famous Chesapeake Bay crustacean, say that system is handicapping their efforts.

"To manage the crab population effectively, we need to know what's being removed," meaning how many crabs are caught, said Gina Hunt of the Department of Natural Resources. "We cannot do that without knowing who's out there crabbing."

The rule would apply to the Maryland portion of the bay, as well as to such tidal rivers as the Severn and the Patuxent, and to Maryland tributaries of the Potomac River. It would not apply to the Potomac River itself, where fishing is governed by an interstate commission. There, and in Virginia waters, small-scale crabbers still would not need a license.

In Maryland, tackle shop owners said yesterday that the idea -- paperwork required to chicken-neck, or to snatch unsuspecting crabs off an underwater piling -- sounded wrong.

"It doesn't feel like home. It feels like work," said Moses Wells, at Mo's on the Go in Edgewater, near Annapolis. "It's kind of like the bay isn't ours anymore."

Also yesterday, Maryland proposed rules that apply to commercial watermen, including a provision that would temporarily suspend the licenses of watermen who have not harvested crabs since 2004. Both Maryland and Virginia imposed strict new limits on the commercial harvests earlier this year.

The state will accept public comment from Jan. 16 to Feb. 17, including a hearing Jan. 27 on Kent Island on the Eastern Shore. The final decision will be made by the department and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Information is available at Welcome to the Department of Natural Resources.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
Pretty soon Jim you are gonna have to stand on one leg while jumping up and down, and pat your head and rub your tummy while you guys pull your traps. And don't get me started on what you will have to do to run a line. LOL Thanks for the info and the link.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,603 Posts
Getting a handle on recreational fish and shellfish effort and catch is important and its challenging. In order to effectivley manage public trust resources its important to have that info to better manage the harvest and to make informed management decisions on allocation issues such as commercial vs recreational catch and effort limits. The feds are struggling with this exact issue for marine fisheries under fed jurisdiction.

Of course there are always trust issues related to any govt. information collection, but I think its time for all the resource harvesters to be counted and considered in managment decisions. With almost all wildlife, you need a hunting license if you want to hunt them, and for freshwater (non-tidal) species (fish, frogs, bait, etc.) you need to have a fishing license to harvest them unless you are a youngster.

Marine and esutarine species management is catching up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,490 Posts
here is the latest proposal in its entirety,,as always subject to change,,,

there is opportunity for public comment (email link at botom of page) & also public hearings

now is the time to make your thoughts known to the regulators, please take the time to let them know...

Proposed 2009 Blue Crab Regulations
The proposed 2009 regulations are crafted to achieve the target fishing level based on results of the 2007-2008 winter dredge survey and recommended by the Chesapeake Bay Program Stock Assessment Committee. This survey, which is conducted December through March, samples overwintering crabs throughout the Bay in Maryland and Virginia and provides an estimate of the total number of crabs available to be harvested in the coming season. Regulations may be adjusted annually to ensure that no more than 46% of the total crab abundance estimated by the survey is harvested.
Recreational
Precise annual estimates of the Bay-wide recreational catch are currently lacking which adds to the uncertainty of annual estimates of the exploitation fraction relative to the 46% target. Currently, recreational crab fisheries are assumed to account for 8% of the total harvest each year. In 2008, Old Dominion University studied the license and reporting structures in four states which have implemented recreational licensing systems that are well designed for generating precise estimates of catch and effort. Based on this study, Old Dominion has recommended that a recreational license specifically for crabs, that is required for all crabbers, would provide the most robust platform for a precise recreational survey. A comprehensive crabbing license would increase the cost effectiveness of a recreational survey by directing sampling only at people who are crabbing. This directed sampling would also significantly increase the certainty of the catch and effort estimates.
The regulation prohibiting the harvest of all female crabs (except soft crabs) to recreational crabbers will remain in place for 2009. The proposed action also clarifies existing text including the recreational day off and exemptions for holidays. The only change under consideration for the recreational fishery in 2009 concerns the recreational crabbing license structure. In order to improve survey accuracy and augment survey costs, the Department proposes the following changes to the recreational crab license:
1. Require a free registration for all crabbers who are currently unlicensed and to anyone crabbing from private waterfront property. In order to maintain a budget neutral licensing process for DNR, the basic crabbing license will only be available through the DNR website and at DNR license service centers where they could issue the license also through the internet. Those individuals obtaining this free registration may be required to provide annual harvest information to the Department;
2. Remove the discount for holders of a sportfishing license when purchasing a crabbing license;
3. Raise the cost of the nonresident crab boat license from $15 to $30; and
4. Remove the complimentary crabbing license from the Bay Sport Boat fishing decal.​

Commercial
During the summer and fall of 2008, the Department worked closely with industry to develop alternative management strategies for 2009. The 2008 crabbing restrictions were focused on the fall of the year, which disproportionately impacted the Lower Eastern Shore. The 2009 regulations are designed to spread the regulatory impact throughout the crabbing season, and still maintain adequate conservation for females while meeting the management principles of measurability, reliability and enforceability.
The regulatory proposal contains a combination of daily bushel limits for mature female hard crabs and periods of closure for harvest of mature female hard crabs. This proposed regulation would achieve the target removal rate based on crab abundance determined in the winter of 2007-2008. Mature female hard crab bushel limits will be assigned based on license type. The proposed bushel limits are as follows:​

Bushel limits​

LCC​

TFL/CB3​

TFL/CB6​

TFL/CB9​

April 1- May 31​

2​

10​

15​

20​

June 16 - August 31​

2​

6​

10​

15​

Sept. 1 - Nov. 10​

(except Sept./Oct. closure)​

[TD]
10​

[/TD][TD]
25​

[/TD][TD]
35​

[/TD][TD]
45​

[/TD]​
Season closure dates are proposed as follows:
1. June 1 through June 15, inclusive;
2. September 26 through October 4, inclusive; and
3. November 11 through December 15 inclusive.
The proposed action adds a public notice authority for modifying a season or catch limit. The winter 2008-2009 winter dredge survey results will not be available until April 2009.
Final bushel limits and closures may be modified by public notice after the results of the winter dredge survey are announced in April, 2009. Defining bushel limits and closures by public notice will allow the Department the flexibility to adjust restrictions so that the fishery continues to harvest no more than 46% of the total crab abundance.​

The proposed action retains the following actions established by emergency regulation in 2008:
  1. 1.
The tolerance limit for females in male crab bushels/barrels;
2.
The prohibition of more than two catch limits from a vessel per day;
3.
The prohibition of more than one days catch on board a vessel; and
4.
Requires female and male crabs be kept in separate containers.

Latent Commercial Effort​

The Department remains concerned about the large amount of latent effort present in the commercial crab fishery. Latent effort is the fishing effort that is not currently deployed in a fishery (i.e. where there are individuals that are entitled to fish in a particular fishery, but for a variety of reasons have so far chosen not to fish in the fishery). If this latent effort is relatively large and becomes 'active', it will impede or reverse restoration and conservation efforts. In September and October of 2008, only crabbers with documented female catch history were permitted to harvest females. In order to provide the industry with the option of equivalent​

bushel limits for all crabbers within a license category, the large amount of latent effort must be addressed. There are approximately 6,000 individuals holding commercial crab authorizations in the state of Maryland. In any given year, only 2,000 of these may be actively crabbing. Only one authorization, the limited crab catcher (LCC), is specific for crabbing and does not allow additional commercial fishing activity. The proposed action places LCC authorizations not used during 2004- 2008 in an inactive status until the crab population reaches the target abundance level for three consecutive years. The proposal includes exemptions to the LCC inactive status as follows:
  1. 1.
Received the LCC authorization through the apprenticeship program;
2.
Received the LCC authorization through a permanent license transfer between August 1, 2006 and December 12, 2008;
3.
Provides appropriate documentation of active military service during the period January 1, 2004 and December 15, 2008;
4.
Completed a successful female bushel limit hardship appeal in 2008; or
5.
Currently resides and has resided for at least 5 years on an island in the State that is at least 3 miles from the mainland.

Upon a determination that the blue crab population meets or exceeds the abundance target for three consecutive years, the Department shall assess the number of LCC authorizations that may be restored to active status for commercial harvest. This portion of the 2009 regulation will become effective in September of 2009, when the current license expires. Crabbing days logged on these latent licenses during the first part of the 2009 season will not be counted as harvest history.
Opportunity for Public Comment


Comments may be sent to Sarah Widman, Regulatory Administrator, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service, 580 Taylor Avenue, B-2, Annapolis, MD 21401, or email to [email protected] , or fax to 410-260-8310. Comments will be accepted through February 17, 2009. A public hearing will be held, to discuss the adoption of these regulations at 6:00pm on January 27, 2008 in the meeting room of the Queen Anne's County Library Kent Island Branch, 200 Library Circle, Stevensville, Maryland 21666.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Does that info only pertain to Maryland or to Virginia as well? I really don't want to be obligated to get a crab license for every one of our guests who wants to dip a net off the dock. If they want to increase the crab population, make stricter laws regarding fertilizers and other chemicals which are pouring to the bay (Which needs to happen anyway), stop dredging and stop harvesting females.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
Question: I already purchased my boat sticker, now they are going to say that the license I already payed for is NO LONGER VALID for crabs ??? How can that be? When I pay for it, it should be valid for those provisions for which I thought I was paying ?!?!?

And how does making a license to take one crab help reporting ? You still have no clue how many John Q Crabber crabs or even how much he takes per trip. I have no problem with paying for a crabbing license if I really believe it benefits the crabs pop. but I don't see the connection. And I don't like the gov. making any new licenses, it just allows them to conitinue to up the anti. How much will my sons have to pay to crab when they turn 17 ??

In the end, whatever is enforced will be what I pay. I will not go without crabbing.

At least they did away with the WD in VA. That is the first step in the right direction in my opinion !

Patrick
Pat N Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
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.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top