The Department of Natural Resources proposes to make some changes to regulations for recreational and commercial crabbers in Maryland waters this year, including the possibility of a $5 license for "noncommercial crabbers."
The proposed regulations are intended to help DNR measure the noncommercial crab catch more accurately. Previous estimates have ranged between 10 million and 40 million pounds per year.
Licensed noncommercial crabbers would be surveyed at the end of each season to calculate catch rates, and that information could be used to help determine whether crabs are being over-harvested in Maryland waters of the Chesapeake estuary.
The new regulations could go into effect on April 1.
DNR separates crabbers into three categories -- recreational, noncommercial and commercial -- and each group is allowed to use different kinds and amounts of gear.
The noncommercial crabber falls between the extensive commercial operations and the limited effort of recreational crabbers. Noncommercial crabbers who also have purchased a Chesapeake Bay sport fishing license would pay only $2 for the crabbing permit.
People hand-lining or dip netting would not be required to buy a license.
A $5 license would be required for noncommercial crabbers who catch two bushels per day. Three bushels would be allowed with a license if two or more people are crabbing from one boat.
Recreational crabbers -- those who catch a bushel or less per day and would not be required to buy a license -- could catch a dozen peeler or soft crabs per day.
A licensed noncommercial crabber would be allowed to catch three dozen soft or peeler crabs per day.
Recreational crabbers could use up to 600 feet of trotline, while licensed noncommercial crabbers could use up to 1,200 feet.
Recreational crabbers would be limited to 10 collapsible traps or rings, while noncommercial crabbers would be allowed a combination of 30 traps or rings.
Waterfront property owners still would be allowed to fish two pots off their pier or property, but pots must be fitted with funnels that would allow terrapins, snapping turtles and other air-breathing aquatic animals to escape.
DNR has scheduled two public hearings on the proposals this week: Wednesday in the Dorchester County Commissioner's Office in Cambridge at 7 p.m. and On Thursday at the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis at 7 p.m.
Area bass fishermen will get a chance to learn from the pros when the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society brings its fishing techniques clinic to Harford Community College in Bel Air the weekend of March 27-28.
Instructors for the 14-hour clinic include Denny Brauer, leading career money winner, and fellow touring pros Randy Howell, Willie Ridgeway and Rich Tauber.
The top largemouth pros will lead sessions on a variety of topics, including lures to use from top to bottom of the water column, boat positioning and where and why fish will be found in different bodies of water.
Tony Bean, longtime guide and television show host, will teach sessions on fishing for smallmouth bass.
The cost of the course is $89 ($44.50 for spouse or children 16 or under), and class sizes are limited.
For more information, call HCC at 410-836-4376.
Pub Date: 1/31/99