Crab Lines Drawn In Water By Legislators

August 13, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

It appears Pasadena boaters won't have to share the Patapsco River beyond Bodkin Point with Baltimore County watermen and their crab pots.

District 31 legislators say they won't negotiate the issue with their Baltimore County counterparts and the matter is closed.

Sen. Philip Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park, and Delegates W. Ray Huff, D-Pasadena, Joan Cadden, D-Brooklyn Park, and Charles "Stokes" Kolodziejski, D-Anne Arundel, signed a letter to Department of Natural Resources Secretary Torrey C. Brown opposingany rules changes.

"We are immobile on this and we have been told by Secretary Brown that without a joint agreement the lines will not be redrawn," said Jimeno, speaking for the District 31 delegation.

Pasadena residents, who use the Patapsco for recreational boating, oppose any crab pots beyond Bodkin Point fearing the pots and their lines, which can tangle in propellers and damage engines.

Paul Massicot, director of DNRs Tidewater Administration, said the rules prohibiting crab pots west of BodkinPoint, will stand unless Anne Arundel County's politicians agree to a change.

U.S. Representative Helen D.Bentley, R-2nd, asked Brown to change the boundaries last month. Baltimore County watermen want the line moved about 3 miles east to Rock Point, but are willing to stay out of the area between July 4 and Labor Day and would be willing to stay 600 yards off-shore and 100 feet outside of shipping channels.

"The present situation will not be altered unless we get a jointproposal from the two competing sides," Massicot said.

A bitter dispute over the same issue was settled in 1988 by Gov. William DonaldSchaefer, who drew the line at Bodkin Point and gave fishermen until1990 to comply.

Commercial crabbers are not allowed to set traps outside of the bay, but the watermen maintain that they should be allowed to work the expansive mouth of the Patapsco since they lost 2,500 acres of once-productive fishing area near Hart-Miller Island as a

fill site for dredge material.

"Baltimore County takes the burden for everybody's dumping and we don't get anything in exchange. We're not giving up," said Delegate Louis DePazzo, D-Dundalk, reacting to the news.

DePazzo, a recreational crabber himself, said the Baltimore County politicians were not backing down from the fight despitethe discouraging news from DNR and the Anne Arundel delegation.

Baltimore County has more licensed crabbers than any Chesapeake Bay county. But North County's interest in the bay is almost entirely recreational, polarizing the two constituencies.

Charles Creswell, the aide who advises Bentley on watermen's issues, said the congresswomanhas not given up on the issue and "is waiting to get her ducks in a row" before she makes a new statement.

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