Daily Archives: January 20, 2023

Here’s why workers are digging Chesapeake Bay blue crabs out of the mud this month

On a recent gray January morning, they were working a section of the upper Chesapeake Bay off Rock Hall on the Eastern Shore. Capt. Roger Morris, a Dorchester County waterman who works under contract with the state’s department of natural resources, dropped a Virginia dredge off the stern of F/V Mydra Ann, his 45-foot Bay workboat, and let the attached chain pay out until the dredge hit bottom 20-some feet below, jolting the boat. A Virginia dredge refers to an eight foot wide piece of equipment with an attached net that gets dropped into the water to dredge for crabs. Morris eased the throttle forward and dragged the dredge through the mud for one minute at three knots, then hauled it back up, pausing to rinse the mud out before bringing it on board. photos, >click to read< 19:08

Squid at record levels around Shetland

While haddock continues to be the most abundant stock, more than three times the average amount of squid was identified by the 2022 Shetland Inshore Fish Survey (SIFS) carried out by UHI Shetland. Environmental change is the most likely explanation for the phenomenon, given that squid are relatively short-lived and breed only once. ‘The high catches of squid recorded in 2022 were a widespread feature of the data in that they were observed in survey areas all around Shetland. Overall, these catches corresponded to the highest relative abundance of squid yet recorded in the survey timeseries,’ said Dr Shaun Fraser, Senior Fisheries Scientist at UHI Shetland. >click to read< 12:25

How valuable, and volatile, crabbing can be along the Oregon Coast

On a calm morning last May, the three-person crew of the FV Misty dropped into the Pacific Ocean off of Port Orford, in Southern Oregon, to catch a small piece of a large fortune. It’s not easy money though, by any stretch. A day of pulling in hundreds of crab pots is relentless and fast-paced work, requiring razor-sharp choreography from a seasoned crew. Boat captain Aaron Ashdown can remember joining the family business when Dungeness crab was worth $2.50 per pound in starting price. “My dad told me, because a crab is about maybe two pounds, ‘There’s just little $5 bills all over the bottom of the ocean and all we got to do is go out there and pick them up.’” By the 2022 season, that value had risen to a record $5 starting price, unprecedented for Oregon. Interesting video, photos, >click to read< 11:06

No definite answer to cause of mass crab deaths on north-east coast

Thousands of dead and dying crustaceans were found piled high along beaches along the north-east coast of England during a three month period. Research by academics, backed by the fishing industry, suggested the incident could have been caused by industrial pollutant pyridine, possibly from dredging in the mouth of the River Tees to maintain channels for port traffic. However this has now been deemed “exceptionally unlikely”. And while the panel said it was impossible to give a definitive answer using current data, it concluded on Friday that it was “about as likely as not” that a pathogen new to UK waters – a potential disease or parasite – caused the crab deaths. >click to read< 09:52

Maine lobster industry must accept that ‘big changes are coming’ despite delay in federal rules, commissioner says

“The work now is critical,” DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher told the Lobster Advisory Council Wednesday. “The buy-in is critical. The data we’re going to be collecting over the next four years is critical. We can’t have infighting. We have to accept big changes are coming. ”Those changes could include additional regulations to make ropes weaker, a move toward ropeless lobster traps and additional restrictions on fishing grounds. Between now and then, the industry needs to report its harvest to federal officials, participate in a vessel tracking program and find ways to help monitor where endangered whales are migrating, Keliher said. >click to read< 08:49

Boats begin offloading crab

After a month-and-a-half delay, Oregon’s commercial Dungeness crab season is underway along at least part of the coast, and crab boats have been busy, already hauling significant catches back to port to be offloaded at the docks. Tim Novotny is the executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, an industry-funded agency established by the Oregon Legislature in 1977 to serve as an advocate for the crabbing industry. When Novotny was asked for his initial thoughts on this year’s season, he said, “It’s been a ball of yarn,” adding that it’s pretty much the opposite of last year. Photos, >click to read< 07:57