Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99
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 © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Trade you oil for chicken manure
    Trade you oil for chicken manure

    I know people are worried that opening up the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling would pose a risk of a possible oil spill ("Getting the off-shore shaft," Jan. 28). In fact, it's inevitable that there will be some oil spilled and some environmental damage done. That's not pessimism, that's...

  • Larry Hogan's big fish story
    Larry Hogan's big fish story

    One expects a certain amount of bluster and prevarication from politicians. It's all part of telling an audience whatever they want to hear. As H.L. Mencken once noted, "if a politician observed he had cannibals among his constituents, he'd promise them missionaries for dinner."

  • Could O'Malley's cover crop program be increasing animal waste in the bay?
    Could O'Malley's cover crop program be increasing animal waste in the bay?

    Gov. Martin O'Malley's green agenda really is green ("O'Malley rushes to propose new pollution rules," Nov. 14). Green as the goose waste that pours directly into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, mostly during the waterfowl season. And, it's primarily fed by Mr. O'Malley's very own cover...

  • O'Malley sticks it to farmers on his way out the door
    O'Malley sticks it to farmers on his way out the door

    On behalf of 36,000 Maryland Farm Bureau families, I have to disagree with your editorial on the issue of the new phosphorus rules ("Phosphorus rules, finally," Nov. 18). Gov. Martin O'Malley did not get it right. In fact, this is effectively just one last tax increase he is trying to force...

  • Denying Conowingo permit won't clean bay
    Denying Conowingo permit won't clean bay

    While I understand the concern about accumulated nutrient buildup in the sediment upstream of the Conowingo Dam posing a hazard to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, as an engineer I do not see what the operation of the dam's power station has anything to do with it ("Maryland can enforce dam...

  • 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...

  • Hogan can protect farms and open space
    Hogan can protect farms and open space

    Congratulations to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on his inauguration. Mr. Hogan ran a terrific campaign, and we all look forward to his leadership on one of the most important roles, safeguarding the lands and waters of this beautiful state.

  • 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).

Comments
Loading