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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Questions Come from a Paper that has been Screaming to the High Heavens for more Control of this Fishery --

--How about this Question- "And why would an unenforceable licensing regime provide better data than the surveys used now?"--

---Just a Thought --If The present survey costs over 180,000 , whom are the Surveying for this Cost W/O knowing who to servey---BS




Church Hill
GambrillsPublished November 12, 2008
The bay's declining blue crab harvests have already led to new restrictions on commercial and residential crabbing.

Not surprisingly, the dismal situation has also given the state Department of Natural Resources an excuse to revive a not-so-golden oldie: The idea that all recreational crabbers, even those just throwing a handline with a chicken neck off the neighborhood pier, should be licensed.

The DNR's four proposals on the subject - all of which start with the idea of charging recreational crabbers a license fee of at least $2 - was the subject of an underadvertised and sparsely attended hearing at DNR headquarters Monday night.

We've never liked this idea and still don't. Quite apart from regulating a traditionally unregulated activity, used by a lot of people of modest means to add a little variety to their diets, we don't see that it's either necessary or practical.

The DNR defends this as a means of gathering information. It has never liked relying on university studies, done every few years, that indicate that recreational crabbers account for a less-than-imposing 8 percent or so of the harvest.

The basic outlines of the four proposals the DNR presented Monday are on our Web site. Three of them would stick a new $2 annual fee on as many as 65,000 Marylanders. The fourth would create a $7 fee for residents and a $15 fee for nonresidents. The ideas also involve changing the prices of existing licenses. The projected revenue ranges from $190,000 (not enough to fund the recreational crab survey, in the DNR's opinion) up to $608,000.

We do credit the DNR with wanting to start with minimal fees. But, of course, once this new regulatory policy is established, fees will go up.

More to the point: How does the DNR propose to enforce this new requirement? Is its police force, already stretched thin looking for reckless and drunken boaters, supposed to patrol this state's endless shorelines and countless piers, checking every crab pot for a license and swooping down on every kid with a trotline?

Actually, this rule couldn't be enforced, any more than the DNR can enforce its current prohibition on recreational crabbers keeping females. That one relies on the common sense of most recreational crabbers, who - realizing that the females are the future of the species - were already throwing them back.

And why would an unenforceable licensing regime provide better data than the surveys used now?

Most recreational crabbers are just as concerned as the DNR about the future of the blue crab. But we fail to see that this proposal will do anything for the crabs; it will just add another penny-ante annoyance to the life of average Marylanders. It ought to go the way of the DNR's past ideas in this area.
 

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yada-yada. Bottom line is that if the crabs are in trouble, then a more accurate system for determining the crab population is needed before more stringent restrictions are placed on any one sector of the fishery. The commercial harvest is already reported. I, for one, laude the DNR for their efforts to account for a more factual accounting of the pleaure crabbing effort. My opinion is that this is the first step in making required reporting a part of recreational crabbing, and in no way is it harmful to the fishery.
 

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What if DNR charged $5.00 for a boat crabbing license (sticker) and used the money to pay for extra patrols ?

Then at least DNR would have a rough idea of how many rec crabbers are out there.Easy to figure an average of two people per boat.

$5.00 would not break any crabber.Works out to $1.00 a trip if you go 5 times during summer.Hell , that's only 2 donuts :D.

I'm 100% behind it :yes:.DNR needs funding - crabs need protection.
 

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As Skip said, patrolling is what is really needed........Years ago when the No Wedsedays went into effect, because crabs were showing low #,s, I used to get stopped and checked prob. 75% of my trips in the Magothy. You could whatch the MP boat just keep circleing the Magothy and would check every crabber for hrs..........In the beginning of this year, when the new restrictions came out, I really thought the MP were gonna be all over the place again.......NOT......I got checked twice. These rules dont do much if they cant enforce them.....I'm not a waterfront home owner but I dissagree with a licence for them.....For one, I dont believe many of them would buy it, therefore rendering the data they are looking for useless. Besides, we dont already pay enough property taxes??? People who buy waterfront homes already have to pay a premium for the home, which gives the state more tax money from the get go.......They normally pay higher property taxes......They have the most restrictions when it comes to improvements......the list of higher fee's goes on and on for waterfront owners.....If anything, the DNR should check waterfront property owners to make sure they are are only using there 2 pots. The DNR has no money because of these redicules fines they are handing out. Land cops get out there and right tickets.......they have quotas to meet and money to raise. Are licence fees have went up this year and Patrol has seemed to have gone down.......I have only been stopped 4 times this year vs. about 15-16 last year.
 

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I'm all for a sustainable population of crabs.
In fact, when I read this article, I decided to buy the license even though I haven't crabbed for probably 5 years or more.
It just has not been worth the effort.

And I thought that when I filled out the survey, and showed zero crabs harvested, that might make the recreation harvest numbers more realistic. I mean, I used to rec crab, and I don't anymore.

But then I thought back to the flounder survey. After a few years of poor flounder fishing, ( caused by over harvesting) many rec. fishermen just stopped trying to catch them.
Then when the flounder survey came out, it showed very few fish caught by recs. compared to large numbers by comms.
So as the flounder population improved, a new allotment was formulated giving tons of 14 inch flounder to comms., and one or two 18 inch fish to recs.

So, if I report my crab catch as being low, then when my grandchildren are allowed to crab again, some time in the future, their allotment will be low.

Is there ANY way to insure a fair allotment ?

By the way, I have been catching crabs recreationally since about 1950, so I know that the recreational effort, and harvest, is about 1/20 th of its historic level.
Heck, I can remember seeing boys riding the streetcars in Baltimore to the harbor, with nets and baskets, to go crabbing.

With bushel prices up to $200 this year, don't you think you would see those boys again, if there were any crabs to catch ?

I also clammed commercially at one time, so I have a pretty good idea of the commercial mentality.
 

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It sounds like a simple measure to get a better idea of the fishing pressure on the blue crab. Since data forms the foundation for harvest limits, why would anyone object to having better data? As for the $2 fee, why not? What's that equate to - three pounds of chicken necks?
 

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Reel excuse....your right.....$2 dollars is nothing......a beer at happy hr......the problem I have with it is: This is only going to give us inacurate data so whats the use. Just because someone buys the licence(IF they buy the licence)doesnt mean the waterfront owner will catch any crabs....will not throw 10 pots of his pier ect. The DNR will multiply # of licence sales by Whatever figure:eek2: they feel appropriate to plug in there and thats the inacurate data you'll end up with. What we need is more DNR Patrol to hold folks to the rules already in place.
 

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Smellslikefish - I see your point, but I guess I am a little more hopeful of the analysis they'll put behind the data.

When it comes down to it, fisheries population management is as much of an art as a science. You need to take the best data available and apply the most accurate assumptions you can to come out with the best estimate possible. It'll never be a perfect match for the exact number of a creature that moves througout a 4,400 square-mile estuary, but I think it'll be better than the information we have right now. And, better information will hopefully result in better management of the fishery.
 

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more visible enforcement would be great for the fish and crabs. i have not seen a dnr boat in many many months. they got a ton of $$ from the feds, and are buying new cars, trucks, boats and trailers. must not have any fuel, sad state of affairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
---A Licence Could be 50 Cents , or even free , but is a data base for ones that are Paid to do the asking & recording --If Ya don't know whom to ask , How can you do a Survey--

--IF I was the Guiding light on a Project such as this & Had Been Empowered By Maryland Law to conduct a Survey such as this -

---Require all Mentioned users to obtain a Rec. Crabbing Survey Licence --Starting with # 1 thru # ??--These Could be Free, to residents As well as out of state users , Info would incude Normal licence info--

--Hire Contractual workers ( No Benifits cost to state ) to take a Simple Question survey of these Licence Holders over the phone -These workers , as they are Contractual , could do this at home at their own pace , but would require a trip to Dnr once a week , or when called forth to turn in reports & recieve new Lists---

--They would be paid a Commision as to how many filled in Questionaires they turned in each week -No Crabbing --as well as Crabs Caught catch figures would get Equal Payment--Lists would be given out in blocks of say 100--500--Eg I'd get Number 1--400 to call this week etc.
--You would need one DNR person to moniter by random phone calls to make sure subcontractor's Compleated Questionaires are Correct & that licence holder had Indeed been contacted --

--I know this seems too simple , but to pay 180,000 to some outside concern W/O a vested intrest is to much --a In house plan to me is more accurate --

--As Far as Enforcement , thats a another matter , But in my eyes has nothing to do with gettin Info that , some feel we need -
 

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What if DNR charged $5.00 for a boat crabbing license (sticker) and used the money to pay for extra patrols ?

Then at least DNR would have a rough idea of how many rec crabbers are out there.Easy to figure an average of two people per boat.

$5.00 would not break any crabber.Works out to $1.00 a trip if you go 5 times during summer.Hell , that's only 2 donuts :D.

I'm 100% behind it :yes:.DNR needs funding - crabs need protection.
Hard to disagree that DNR needs funding - crabs need protection but I see this proposal as being largely unenforcable with everything else that gets dumped in the lap of an understaffed law enforcement agency. They don't even have the personnel to enforce the laws they must enforce now. It's not just a matter of paying for extra patrols it's a matter of having the resources available. $2.00 - $5.00 probably would not break anybody but who says DNR would even benefit from the funds I saw nothing in the proposal that mandated license fees go directly into DNR coffers. And even if it was, all it takes is a stroke of a pen to divert the money elsewhere. I think this needs further consideration and a little tweaking. Having said that the current method of estimating recreational harvest is obviously grossly inaccurate as well. I'm just not convinced that licensing is the way to improve it.
 

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aafinest......you are exactly right!!! What is starting to chap my a$$ is all the money we spend on surveys, experiments, ect when the laymen knows what the problems are. That $2 license will probally end up costing tax payers $3 for all the paper work involved causing our under funded DNR too be even more under funded. Kinda like doing a six month investigation, only to fine offenders $50. Government Red Tape, at its finest. You think if an under sized crab cost you $100 ea. DNR would be under funded???? You think if an under sized rockfish got you a boat/trailer/truck that you could auction to the public, and keep the proceeds, you would be under funded??? I DONT THINK SO!!!
 
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