Tag Archives: Maryland

Blue Crabs Crest Tipping Point – Maryland and Virginia may limit harvest for the remainder of the season

After almost three decades of effort, Maryland’s treasured Chesapeake Bay crustacean, the blue crab, has achieved a major scientific benchmark. The number of spawning females has at last reached the minimum target level for optimum species viability: 215 million sooks. The 2017 Winter Dredge Survey put the female population at well over the minimum, 254 million, an impressive 31 percent increase from the prior year. This is an important moment, as just four years ago (and five years prior to that), the female crab population had been ­driven to dangerous, even population-collapse, levels.,, To protect overall numbers, the Maryland, Virginia and Potomac River Fisheries Commission has proposed shortening the crabbing season and imposing stricter bushel limits on female crabs. No changes to male crab limits were proposed. click here to read the story 16:25

Fishery managers weighing cuts in Bay crab harvest

Chesapeake Bay crabbers will likely face some harvest restriction this season to protect future generations of the iconic crustacean, a move managers say is necessary because of the low population of juveniles. Fishery managers for Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission all say they are considering shortening the season and imposing stricter limits on the harvest of female crabs. They are not proposing changes in male crab catches. News of harvest cuts surprised some crabbers at Maryland’s Blue Crab Industry Advisory Committee last week. The latest winter dredge survey results released in April showed the highest number of female crabs in the 28-year history of the annual count. Female crabs clocked in at 254 million, a 31 percent increase over last year. But the Baywide survey, which counts the crabs in more than 1,000 locations as they burrow in the mud, estimated there were 125 million juvenile crabs in the Chesapeake, a 54 percent decrease from the 271 million found in 2016. That is the lowest tally since 2013 — a year when crabbers also had their catch curtailed — and one of the five lowest estimates since 1990, managers said. Click here to continue reading the article 21:38

MD lawmakers call hearing on DNR crab manager’s firing

Maryland lawmakers have scheduled a special hearing to investigate the Hogan administration’s firing of the state’s longtime manager of the blue crab fishery. The House Environment and Transportation Committee and the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee plan to meet jointly Monday to seek more information on the termination last month of Brenda Davis. A 28-year employee of the state Department of Natural Resources, Davis was dismissed Feb. 21 after a small group of watermen complained about her and crabbing regulations to Gov. Larry Hogan. Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat, said the committees want to know whether politics is influencing science and scientific decision-making in the department. “We have to shine a light on the firing of Brenda Davis,” Pinsky said Thursday. “It seems that the Hogan administration has made her a sacrificial lamb to a small group of watermen who have, to date, not been able to change state crabbing policy.” continue reading the story here 20:17

Watermen’s Appreciation Day – A day on the bay of the Eastern Shore

talbot-jpg--1-“In Maryland here were called watermen which is a term that’s -a follower, we’re not only crabbers, we’re clammers, we’re oyster men, we’re hunters, we’re fishermen, we do it all,” said Captain Robert Newberry of the Watermen’s Association. This all used to be done be sail . The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the world and the heritage of the Watermen’s appreciation day celebrates just that. This is the 7th annual event here at St. Micheal’s celebrating  the eastern shores’ watermen. And folks came from all over to enjoy it. The Boat docking contests took the win for entertainment at the event as folks from age 14 to 60 tried docking their boats the fastest and the smoothest – all for bragging rights.  Read the rest here 08:20

Oyster poaching continues on bay despite enforcement efforts

Waterman Edward “Bruce” Lowery lost his Maryland license to harvest oysters five years ago, after racking up more than three dozen violations. He was convicted of fishing at the wrong times, in the wrong places and using the wrong equipment. But that hasn’t stopped him from oystering in the. Lowery, 49, says he bought a piece of land in Virginia — a “$3,000 piece of nothing” where he has never lived — to secure a commercial license from that state. Virginia regulators didn’t ask about his record in Maryland. Read the rest here 10:30

Maryland, Virginia Members Disagree on Atlantic Oil Drilling

The Obama administration’s recent proposal to lease oil and gas drilling in a swath of the Atlantic Ocean generated the expected mix of cheers and jeers on Capitol Hill, but local reaction was mostly divided along state borders rather than party affiliations. Marylanders are reluctant, while Virginians appear to want to charge ahead, especially if it might mean more cash in their state coffers Read the rest here 16:12

Two watermen plead guilty in striped bass poaching case

Two Tilghman Island watermen pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to illegally taking 185,925 pounds of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay. Michael D. Hayden, 41, and William J. Lednum, 42, admitted to selling the striped bass for $498,293 through a ring they operated between 2007 and 2011, according to court documents. Read more here  07:24

Virginia abided by menhaden catch limit for 2013

In late 2012, Virginia and other Atlantic states adopted the first coast-wide catch limit for menhaden in a historic effort to save the “most important fish in the sea” from years of overfishing. Read more here 

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Maryland assigning commercial fishermen catch shares – will have individual quotas of striped bass

State fisheries officials say they’re not trying to hurt watermen. “Whenever you have a major change like this … you have winners and losers,” said Tom O’Connell, state fisheries director. “It sorts itself out.” Read [email protected]  00:57

Menhaden rules to be heard Today by Md. Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee

For watermen, this is a chance for their voice to be heard on regulations that some, like Bob Newberry, who is a co-organizer for the Harvesters Land and Sea Coalition, say are negatively affecting their livelihood and aren’t necessary. “We’re just asking for our day in front of the AELR Committee to explain our side of the situation,” Newberry said. “At least for once the watermen of the state of Maryland are going to be able to have their side of the story heard,” [email protected] 11:57

Frosh bill banning shark fin trade passes both Maryland chambers (filed under “another dumb politician”)

Gazette.Net – “We have a global problem. We have a problem in the Chesapeake Bay, because sharks are being killed just for their fins in many places in the world,” Frosh said. “This is a bill that takes a small step toward fixing that.” continued

MD’s Crab Harvest Leads Nation – WBAL News

Maryland’s crab harvest last year led the nation. That’s according to figures released Wednesday by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

http://www.wbal.com/article/94116/2/template-story/MDs-Crab-Harvest-Leads-Nation