Story Category: The Bay Net Exclusives »
Crab Team Reports to Commissioners
Prince Frederick, MD - 12/2/2011
By Marty Madden
The Calvert County Commissioners received some encouraging news about the region’s favorite crustacean Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Members of the local Blue Crab Industry Design Team presented a brief status report on their efforts to make sure the shellfish thrives in the Southern Maryland waterways.
“The crab industry is very sound, it’s been a productive year,” said Calvert County Waterman’s Association President Tommy Zinn, who indicated prices have remained stable.
The design team is a voluntary industry group working with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other agencies to develop a new approach to blue crab management.
In an October letter addressed to Commissioner Pat Nutter [R], the local design team explained that prudent policies were needed “to protect and strengthen the resource, the state’s economy and the citizens whose livelihoods depend on blue crabs. We have been meeting monthly for the past seven months, educating ourselves and crafting ways to increase industry accountability, ensure license holders maintain the ability to participate in the fishery in the future, improve our ability to be profitable and help create a co-management process that ensures a strong partnership between our industry and DNR.”
The monthly meetings of the group, which has members statewide, are held the first Wednesday of every month at the Holiday Inn Express in Grasonville.
“Solutions have to come from the ground up,” said Kate Culzoni of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an organization that is working with the design team. Culzoni said EDF’s role is to provide “technical assistance.”
“Accountability is what we are working on now,” said Irving Chapelear of Benedict. Despite the fact he resides in Charles, Chapelear is one of two design team members representing Calvert (the other is Bobby Abner of Chesapeake Beach). Chapelear stated the Calvert watermen’s group “was doing the best for the Patuxent—the long-term good thing for the blue crab.”
“Obviously, we want to be able to continue to eat crabs,” said Commissioners’ President Susan Shaw, adding that “environmental and economic” issues were also of a great concern.
While the group found favor from the Calvert Commissioners, Zinn indicated not all of Maryland’s political leaders were supportive of the local watermen’s initiatives.
On the subject of oyster tonging, Zinn labeled the O’Malley administration “not waterman friendly” due to its onerous prohibitions on harvesting at certain Chesapeake Bay beds and sanctuaries.
In addition to watermen, the Blue Crab Industry Design Team includes representatives from restaurant industry and crab processors.
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com
Be The First To Comment On This Story!
Send This Story to a Friend!