Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Crabbing moratorium isn't the answer [Letter]

In response to Dan Rodricks' article, "Stop tinkering: Ban crabbing for a year" (May 4) I must say that his solution to the Chesapeake Bay's crab shortage, placing a moratorium on crab harvesting, is too simple and elementary for this complex and multi-faceted problem.

The Chesapeake Bay blue crab industry makes up $700 million of the state of Maryland's economy. There are many individuals and businesses involved in this economy, starting with watermen, marinas and boat repairs, bait and tackle supplies, truck drivers, fuel companies, crab wholesalers, crab picking houses, carry-out crab houses, sit down restaurants, refrigeration services, boiler services, and the list could continue. Mr. Rodricks suggests that the watermen take off a year and plant trees. OK, what about all the others who are affected, Mr. Rodricks? Do you have any ideas for their income and livelihood for that moratorium period? I think this part of the problem is a bit more broad than you think, Mr. Rodricks. I have two carry-out crab houses that employ approximately 50 people, and I know I would have to release many of them if a moratorium was issued.

Let me just say this about our blue crabs: They are resilient, and they are survivors. Do a little research for yourself on the life of a blue crab, you will be astounded at their tenacity to survive!

That said, one way to help the blue crabs survive would be to allow fishermen to harvest greater numbers of rockfish from the bay. One waterman recently cut open a harvested rockfish to find 157 juvenile blue crabs in its belly! Wow! That's just one fish. Fishermen should be allowed to harvest the red drum also; like rockfish, eating machines, feeding primarily on juvenile blue crabs. This Chesapeake Bay of ours is out of balance right now — too many fish, not enough crabs. You can't have a bay thick with rockfish and red drum and expect to have acceptable numbers of blue crabs. It can't and won't happen. Mother Nature runs in cycles, and sooner or later will resolve this issue, but we can help counter the balance by allowing more fish to be harvested.

Scientists and the Department of Natural Resources, along with watermen, have been strategizing for the past few years about new regulations to protect the blue crab resource. These strategies have been paying dividends and should continue to be revisited and tweaked for the protection of our blue crab. We now need regulations relaxed on fishing to keep the balance in check. And the polar vortex, Mr. Rodricks, may have killed a few of the older crabs in the bay, but count this freeze a blessing. A freeze can kill parasites, bacteria and algae in the bay, cleaning up the bay water. That's a good thing! Thanks for your concern, Mr. Rodricks; however, I think you should stop tinkering with complex environmental issues and maybe concentrate on less complex issues, like politics.

Richard Anderson, Jarrettsville

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • What about Pa. manure?
    What about Pa. manure?

    On an almost recurring basis lately, The Sun has devoted itself to bringing to everyone's attention the Eastern Shore poultry industry's polluted runoff flowing into the Chesapeake Bay ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13). Attention should be directed to the Amish...

  • New rules needed to protect Eastern Shore waterways
    New rules needed to protect Eastern Shore waterways

    After talking about it for years, Maryland finally has proposed long-overdue regulations on phosphorous pollution from animal manure in the Chesapeake Bay ("Hogan vows to fight farm pollution rules," Dec. 8).

  • Big Ag must be held to account for bay pollution
    Big Ag must be held to account for bay pollution

    Dan Rodricks' arguments for protecting the Chesapeake Bay from pollution from chicken farms could have been even stronger ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13).

  • Rodricks wrong on bay pollution
    Rodricks wrong on bay pollution

    It is time for those writing for The Sun's editorial pages to check their facts. Columnist Dan Rodricks writes that poultry farmers are allowing their chicken manure to run into the Chesapeake Bay ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13.

  • Chicken industry threatens all other bay businesses
    Chicken industry threatens all other bay businesses

    Dan Rodricks' column on Gov.-elect Larry Hogan and the Chesapeake Bay missed an important fact: Mr. Hogan's pro-poultry industry comments and pledges are actually deeply hurtful to most Eastern Shore businesses ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13).

  • Compost chicken manure, don't burn it
    Compost chicken manure, don't burn it

    Dan Rodricks' recent column urged the new governor to get a large-scale poultry waste incinerator built on the Eastern Shore ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13). This awful idea has been floated for 15 years now and has gone nowhere despite an array of government...

  • Fix the Conowingo before another Hurricane Agnes hits [Letter]
    Fix the Conowingo before another Hurricane Agnes hits [Letter]

    I read with interest commentator Anirban Basu's article touting what a great asset the Conowingo dam is and how it enhances the lives of all Marylanders ("Support the dam to support Md.," Oct. 13).

  • How about aerators to clean up the bay?
    How about aerators to clean up the bay?

    I just read the article about dredging the Susquehanna River, and I couldn't help thinking back to the Seoul Olympics where they used aerators to clean up their filthy water and they got it clean enough that all of the rowing events were held in very safe water ("Study: Dredging little help...

Comments
Loading