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Ways to increase the crab catch

Regarding your editorial "Blue outlook for blue crabs," (Sept. 17), the commercial rockfish/striper group would love to see higher limits set for catching and keeping stripers, so let's blame the lack of crabs on the rockfish so they can increase their catch.

Ten or 20 years ago there were far more fish predators in the Chesapeake Bay, and the crab catch was fine.

Three or four years ago, the state Department of Natural Resources reduced the limits on the commercial catch of female crabs. The following year they decided everything was back to normal and lifted the restrictions — as if one year had made a difference.

Recreational crabbers are not allowed to keep females and are limited to one bushel of catch per day. DNR seems very reluctant to totally ban the harvesting of female crabs — of course Virginia would have to follow as well.

There is no easy solution, but as a recreational crabber I would like to see the DNR start with "banding" the commercial female crab catch for the next two years, then take a look to see if this helps increase the catch.

They may also consider increasing the "size catch" of the crabs to 6 inches and limiting the crabbing season to June through September.

John Schlaffer, Parkville

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