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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
VMRC will be considering and probably voting on regulatory changes dark sponge crabs and expanding the sancturary. On March 27th in the afternoon at their Newport News Office, 4th floor conference room.

The public will be allowed to speak to the Commission prior to the vote.

Written input can be mailed/emailed to

Jack Travelstead
VMRC Fisheries Management Division
2600 Washington Avenue
3rd Floor
Newport News, Virginia 23607

email

[email protected]

Please include your full name and mailing address on any comments.

Below is the public notice.

Tom

Regulation 4 VAC 20-270-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crabbing"

The proposed amendment extends the lawful crab pot and peeler pot harvest season, from March 17 through November 30. The current lawful harvest season is April 1 through November 30. A second amendment establishes a daily time limit of 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for these proposed, additional lawful days (March 17 through March 31) of the crab pot and peeler pot harvest season. A third amendment makes it unlawful for any person knowingly to place, set, or fish or leave any fish pot in any tidal waters during the March 12 through March 16 period, except in defined upriver areas.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-300-10 et seq., "Pertaining to Crab Catch Limits"

The proposed amendment extends to the period of March 17 through May 31 the requirement that no boat or vessel shall take or catch by crab pot, or have in possession, more than fifty-one (5l) bushels or seventeen (l7) barrels of crabs in any one day. Currently, this possession limit extends from April 1 through May 31.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-370-10 Et Seq., "Pertaining to the Culling of Crabs

The Commission proposes to repeal the prohibition on harvest and possession of dark (any shade of brown through black coloration) sponge crabs. Recent field studies by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) suggest that high percentages of female sponge crabs do not survive the harvest and culling process. This evidence suggests that the regulation does not result in the intended direct conservation of spawning female crabs and their offspring.

Regulation 4 VAC 20-752-10 Et Seq., "Pertaining to the Blue Crab Sanctuaries"

The Commission proposes an expansion of the existing crab sanctuaries, by establishing a new sanctuary in an area that extends out to the 3-Mile Limit Line, from off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay thence southward along the Virginia Beach coast to the Virginia-North Carolina Line. While there are very few harvester reports of crabbing in this area during the current time period of the crab sanctuary, June 1 through September 15, a lifting of the sponge crab prohibition could result in new crabbing effort in the area. VIMS staff and the Blue Crab Management Advisory Committee have identified this area as one that contains large numbers of sponge crabs.
 

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Ok so let me get this straight, the releasing of sponge crabs does not have the intended effect on the conservation of the species, assuming they survive? I would think that any positive effect at all is worth keeping the law on the books.

Did I miss something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Chris,

You have the correct question in your post. "Assuming that they survive?"

The Research that was presented by VIMS indicates that the egg masses do not survive and that the sponge crabs do not survive for more than a week after capture and normal handling. Dr. John McConaugha is one of the Commissioners. He was appointed last summer. He is a noted blue crab expert from ODU who was not involved with the research. It will be interesting to see how he addresses this issue.

Tom
 

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Recent field studies by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) suggest that high percentages of female sponge crabs do not survive the harvest and culling process. This evidence suggests that the regulation does not result in the intended direct conservation of spawning female crabs and their offspring.
It all depends on what they consider a "high percentage" is and how they conducted the experiment. When you consider the overwhelming odds against a female crab surviving long enough to bear eggs, that crab should get every chance it can get of finishing her mission if it makes it that far. If the actual mortality number was 50% or even more I'd still think it would be worth returning them to do their thing. The other thing is how did they conduct the study? There are so many variables that could effect the results of a study like that that I always have to question how they came up with their results, It's too easy to use bad science to support a bad decision.
 

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Water boy, You are correct! Science: garbage in and garbage out! I would think if the crabs are handled properly they should survive with no lasting affects.
 
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