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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A quarter page of bla,bla, bla... Oh boy another comission.... Maybe a tactic to say look over here... while hoping the gill net issue goes away from the MWA? No mention of the rec interest...
 

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Interesting - not sure I agree with his point of view about the science part of fishery management.
IMHO - science facts should be used - not politics - to set seasons / limits.
Larry complained about water pollution - yet waterman still take oysters that filter the bay water.

Not likely to ever happen but if the limit was raised to 6 inches ( for all crabbers ) - there would be a much better quality ( higher dock prices ) plus more crabs in a few years.

Story a few weeks ago - Phillips Seafood put a size limit on the blue swimmer crabs caught overseas - hoping to avoid overfishing them. They looked at how the Chesapeake crabs were over harvested.
 

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Over the past decade, Maryland's commercial watermen, our families and communities have slowly but steadily been reaching a turning point in our lives. With a polluted Chesapeake Bay, uncertain seafood stocks, rising costs of doing business and unpredictable fisheries management, commercial watermen around the state are facing a critical choice about the future.

We can choose to follow the path we are on, filled with instability and insecurity, or we can choose a road of sustainability and promise. The former is littered with marginal profits, increasing regulations, and a lack of confidence in government by watermen; the latter demands leadership, innovation and forward thinking that can result in profitable waterman businesses and stronger waterman communities. We must choose a future of effective fisheries management on the bay. I believe we know in our hearts the right path to take.

Restrictive regulations, though squarely based on science, can cause unstable harvest levels that can in turn lead to economic and social conflict throughout the industry. Watermen worry that more restrictive regulations, combined with increasing operating costs, cheap imports and fluctuating prices, will continue to reduce revenues and threaten livelihoods and our way of life. Overly liberal regulations, on the other hand, allow for overharvesting and loopholes, causing stocks to fall below management targets. Excessive harvest then floods the market with too much catch at once, causing prices to plummet and motivating watermen to fish more. Conservationists worry that unstable fish or crab populations will threaten the resilience of the bay's already weakened ecosystem; managers worry that without strict controls and regulations, we could have overharvest of key stocks.

So, what to do?
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The Maryland Watermen's Association (MWA) believes balance can be achieved by designing a fisheries management system that meets conservation and management goals while also achieving the economic and social goals of the industry. That is why a commercial fishing work group called the "blue crab industry design team" is creating a new fisheries management approach for the bay's blue crab fishery that will subsequently be accepted by the DNR. The group includes other watermen leaders from around the state, as well as representatives of commercial fishery-related businesses, and is supported by a national conservation group, the Environmental Defense Fund, which has been a strong partner to the commercial fishing industry over the past year. This group can provide fisheries expertise from its work around the world and will add credibility to the depth and breadth of our eventual recommendations.

Focusing on the blue crab fishery, this effort places industry in a leadership role in exploring alternatives to current commercial blue crab fishery management. Team members, working closely with the larger waterman community, are now considering the wide breadth of management options that can lead to our industry's progress here on the bay. Discussions will be centered on improving accountability (through accurate catch reporting), maintaining a sustainable stock, ensuring opportunities for watermen in the long term and developing new market opportunities for our industry.

It is only natural that uncertainty about the future and this effort can lead to skepticism, cynicism and resentment. Some watermen, having been burned in the past and fearing the unknown, may prefer the status quo over new ways to co-manage our fisheries. Outside the waterman community, there are those who think that all watermen are like the few illegal poachers; we're not.

Some may like to see the watermen disappear. They naively think that getting rid of commercial harvests will bring stocks back. Regardless of the data that show overharvesting is not the biggest problem facing the bay, critics still see watermen as the easy target to blame.

However, I believe that by coming together as an industry, watermen have the opportunity to create lasting change that ensures plentiful seafood and healthy livelihoods for years to come. Stewardship by a strong commercial fishing industry is essential to abundant fisheries and thriving communities on the Chesapeake. As the businesspeople who drive the industry, it is the watermen themselves who can set the course and return our industry to viability and health. The industry has a choice; I say let's move forward together on the path filled with promise and sustainability so that the people, elected officials, and bureaucrats will support the Bay and our new way of doing business.

Larry Simns is president of the Maryland Watermen's Association. His email is [email protected].
 

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Skip - I do have to respectfully disagree with the 6 nch size lmit...that would just create more poachers in my opinion...restricting the females was the ticket, but DNR caved in on that one...

The MWA needs an identity. Right now they are all viewed as toothless ******** that are raping and pillaging the bay. But the same people that are bashing the watermen, are the ones going to the 19.95 all you can eat crab houses on the weekend....oh wait..those crabs came from florida or TX..so its ok.

Larry Simns needs to focus on re-creating an identity for the Maryland watermen, instead of making statements lke this;

"Focusing on the blue crab fishery, this effort places industry in a leadership role in exploring alternatives to current commercial blue crab fishery management".

What he is basically saying, is what he has always said....Recreational idiots, and their groups like the CCA, should butt out, and let the watermen decide the best thing for the crabs.

This kind of thinking, and stance is suicide for the watermen...non-commerical constituents far outweigh commercial ones, and are going to win this battle if the MWA continues to alienate the recreational crabber/fisherman

If he was smart, he would wlecome a joint task force between the MWA and the CCA. you keep your friends close, but your enemies closer!!
 

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There were restrictions put on females for the commercial harvest that restricted harvest from Sept 26 to Oct. 4. The recreational crabber could not take any females. The population showed a big rebound and only after a few years, the commercial sector had the two week restriction repealed. They found something that worked and got rid of it. This article is pure bla bla bla..............Gary
 

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bushels limits for female crab are still in affect for the commercial crabber.... this alone saves far more female crab than that two week period that was lifted.
 

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Simns is making progess - at least there arent' any convicted poachers listed as officers of the MWA - that's a start, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
don't forget the positive impact of the recs not being able to keep any females! Hey let's try a year where no one keeps females!
 

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Everyone better wake up to what this new commision and dnr is working on, it's called catchshares and if it comes to md everyone will lose except the highest reporting comm. crabbers, maybe 10% or less. rec. will lose big time because it all works off allocation of their est. of TAC, total allowable catch. by dnr's est. recs only catch 6% tops of all landings reported.
 

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the existense & actions & purpose of the blue crab design team are not well publicized by the DNR

the Blue Crab design team is composed of Commercial waterman, commercial processors & the head of the MWA


BLUE CRAB DESIGN TEAM

Over the past few months, EDF
has been working with industry
leaders to organize a voluntary
group of crabbers that will evaluate
and discuss priorities, goals and
management tools for the
commercial blue crab fishery. The
Blue Crab Design Team is charged
with thinking long-term and
assessing what the future of
Maryland’s commercial crab fishery
can look like.
Working with a facilitator, EDF and
external experts, and in
consultation with the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources,
team members will work together
to establish goals and priorities for
the industry and reach consensus
on an industry proposal that sets
forth a constructive path forward.
This effort will include a review of
alternative management
approaches that are appropriate for
the blue crab fishery as well as
various tools (marketing, branding
and other communication
strategies) that can help achieve
success for watermen and
businesses in Maryland.
The membership of the Blue Crab
Design Team was selected by the
industry through county leadership
and is intended to be
representative of the diverse
regions, gears and interests within
the commercial crab fishery. Each
region is made up of two county
representatives, one being the
principal member. Each region’s
representatives were selected to
have appropriate gear, and location
representation as well as age
diversity. In addition, the state
watermen association leaders are
a part of the design team.
Membership categories include:
Southwest Region:
1. Members from counties:
St. Mary’s, Charles and Calvert
2. Gears representation:
Hard pots and trotline
Northwest Region:
1. Members from counties:
Anne Arundel, Baltimore,
Hartford and Cecil
2. Gears representation:
Hard pots and trotline
Members from counties:
Kent, Queen Anne, and Talbot
2. Gears representation: Hard pots and trotline
Southeast Region:
1. Members from counties:
Dorchester, Somerset and Tangier Sound
2. Gears representation:
Hard pots, peeler pots, scrapes and trotline




The first meeting for this group will be held on March
2nd at the Hilton Garden Inn in Grasonville, MD, next to
the Fisherman’s Inn. The meeting agenda will include
membership introductions, Design Team objectives and
expectations, review of operating guidelines and a
presentation of DNR principles. All meetings will be
public. Future meetings will be held the first
Wednesday of every month unless otherwise
announced.
If you would like to get regular updates on the Design
Team meetings and progress, please contact Kate
Culzoni and we will add your name and contact
information to the Design Team update list.
 

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Everyone better wake up to what this new commision and dnr is working on, it's called catchshares and if it comes to md everyone will lose except the highest reporting comm. crabbers, maybe 10% or less. rec. will lose big time because it all works off allocation of their est. of TAC, total allowable catch. by dnr's est. recs only catch 6% tops of all landings reported.
Don't like the idea of catch shares, but I still think recs should have to report their catch just like the commercial crabbers do.

How could you even start to allocate the "rec share" with nothing more than a fair guess at what the harvest is? Catch shares will be the death blow to the part time crabber, something that started with the hour restrictions.
 

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I don't think this is a measure to take out recreational crabbing resources, but I do think it is a measure to put Maryland Watermen in the drivers seat.

When Florida instituted the net ban, the Florida legislature knew where there bread was buttered...Recreational fisherman (tourists) were flocking to the state to take part in the world class fishing...they couldnt have commercial nets taking that away..

Well...Maryland is no different...except that alot of Marylands tourist dollars, come from people flocking to Annapolis, Baltimore, Ocean City....and what do those people want?? Maryland Crabs..and all you can eat of them...and who is gong to supply these tourists with their deep pockets, the succulent Md Crab meat???

you guessed it!!

Watermen will always get their way...too much $$$ is riding on their way of life in MD....best thing to do is deal with it, and hope you can still take your share for your Saturday crabs with friends.
 

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Everyone on that blue crab design team are either buyers or crabbers. the crabbers are all part of MWA or the other newly formed watermans org. that wasen't happy with the MWA. they do not represent the majority of comm. crabbers in this state. the majority don't belong to any of those org. because the majority are partimers and the fulltimers want them gone so what do you think is going to happen here. and yes the rec guys will lose because thats how catchshares works.
 

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There could be a good money making idea for crabbers - taking out tourists.

Kinda like a dude ranch - let the tourists pay X amount of dollars to see first hand how crab pots work. Just the excitement of the crab pot coming up would be cool. Let them sort their own catch - bait a few traps - etc.

The crabber would really only need to get about 4-5 bushels for the tourists to take home. In a way - the bushel price would be much better.

Look at how many folks watch " Deadliest Catch " - Md could jump on the band wagon and promote it.

You know the tourists would brag about how fun it was - plus have some fresh crabs to eat that night. Some thing about fish or crabs you catch yourself just taste better.
 

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There could be a good money making idea for crabbers - taking out tourists.

Kinda like a dude ranch - let the tourists pay X amount of dollars to see first hand how crab pots work. Just the excitement of the crab pot coming up would be cool. Let them sort their own catch - bait a few traps - etc.

The crabber would really only need to get about 4-5 bushels for the tourists to take home. In a way - the bushel price would be much better.

Look at how many folks watch " Deadliest Catch " - Md could jump on the band wagon and promote it.

You know the tourists would brag about how fun it was - plus have some fresh crabs to eat that night. Some thing about fish or crabs you catch yourself just taste better.
taking clients requires 1: a US coast Guard License....2. A Maryland Guide License... the # of commercial crabbers that posess both licenses is probably less than 2 dozen... good idea but not too practical under today's rules
 

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""Everyone on that blue crab design team are either buyers or crabbers. the crabbers are all part of MWA or the other newly formed watermans org. that wasen't happy with the MWA. they do not represent the majority of comm. crabbers in this state. the majority don't belong to any of those org. because the majority are partimers and the fulltimers want them gone so what do you think is going to happen here. and yes the rec guys will lose because thats how catchshares works. ""

The blue crab design team consists of Crab Potters, Crab Scrapers , Waterman that posess TFL's that they do not use to Crab (they use their TFL's to Clam dredge or Fish), Charter boat captains,(they possess a tfl but do not use it to crsab) restaurant owners, & picking house owners. I saw no one on the Team that was primarily a trotliner... this fact was noted at the last design team meeting.
 

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The sacrificial lamb. Take out those who take least.
Not exactly. MWA does not like part timers, that is why they agreed to the time restrictions way back when, hard to work a 6-3 job and crab when you can only do it on weekends.

Problem is there is too much politics involved in the decision. Catch shares will benefit a small number of watermen and put large numbers of watermen out of work. The rec crabbers and the folks that just want their AUCE at rock bottom prices will pay as well when fewer suppliers are able to control the market. Just look at what OPEC has done for oil prices since 1960.
 
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