On one point, opponents agreed: Maryland's effort to spare female crabs will be wasted unless neighboring Virginia adopts similar catch restrictions. Females migrate down the bay in fall, where they spend the winter before emerging to spawn at the mouth of the bay in Virginia. That state allows its watermen to dredge the slumbering females, and Maryland watermen contend their southern competitors will profit from this state's conservation move.
NEW CRABBING RULES
GOAL: Reduce harvest of female crabs by 20 percent this fall.
SEASON END: Last day is Nov. 15, six weeks early. Season normally runs April 1 to Dec. 31.
COMMERCIAL RESTRICTIONS: Workweek reduced from seven to six days. No harvest on Mondays above Chesapeake Bay Bridge, on Sundays below the bridge. Workday reduced from more than 12 hours to eight. Runs from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Previously, potters could begin harvesting at 4:30 a.m., and trot-liners at 3:30 a.m. Both could work till 5 p.m.
RECREATIONAL RESTRICTIONS: Includes waterfront property owners. Crabbing reduced from seven days a week to three -- Friday through Sunday. Hours reduced to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; previously hours were 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. in bay or to sunset in rivers. Until now, shoreline property owners had been permitted to harvest all week from two crab pots each tied to their piers.
Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources