Baltimore County watermen want to harvest crabs off the shores of Pasadena.
But four Pasadena lawmakers have resisted a proposal by U.S. Representative Helen Delich Bentley, R-2nd, to rework a 3-year-oldcompromise that closed the mouth of the Patapsco to commercial crab pots.
Bentley, Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden and several other Baltimore lawmakers proposed reopening the waterway for crabbingearlier this summer to state Department of Natural Resources Secretary Torrey Brown.
Brown said the state would consider a proposal ifAnne Arundel County officials agreed.
Lawmakers from District 31 have said nothing doing.
In a letter to Brown last month, state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park, said it would be "unfortunate" if the state Department of Natural Resources reopened the crabbing issue and reneged on a commitment by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
The letter was signed by the three District 31 delegates.
"Phil's letter was a lot nicer than mine was going to be," said Delegate W. Ray Huff, D-Pasadena. "I was angry they even thought about it. I remember too well the problems we had last time, meeting upon meeting, people lying to each other, shouting at each other."
The state first allowed watermen to harvest crabs between Bodkin Creek and Rock Point during the summer of 1987 after it closed areas around Hart Miller Island, a dredge spoil site.
Watermen said they needed to harvest the Patapsco crabs to continue their livelihood.
But residents quickly complained that the water was littered with the 2-foot-high metal crab traps. They could not boat, swim or water ski in the river for fear of hitting a submerged pot.
Several dozen boats were reported damaged or sunk when they became entangled in the pots.
"It was tearing all kinds of boats up," Huff recalled. "You have to leave a place for the recreational boaters to go. You can't have crab pots all over the place."
In March 1988, Schaefer enforced a compromise thatlimited when and where waterman could set crab traps in the Patapscoand banned them entirely from the Pasadena shoreline by 1990.