Commercial crabbers are told to take Sunday or Monday off New DNR catch limits take effect June 17

April 30, 1996|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF

Commercial crabbers will have to take either Sunday or Monday off and many recreational crabbers will have to stay ashore on Wednesdays under catch limits revised by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

"Chicken-neckers," as casual crabbers are known, are not affected by the new rules, which take effect June 17. The limits are waived for those who set crab pots from their waterfront piers or who fish using hand lines or dip nets.

There will be a public hearing on the revised crabbing limits at 7 p.m. today at Annapolis Senior High School, 2700 Riva Road.

Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin said catch limits first proposed last month had been modified to protect the bay's crab stocks "with as little impact on recreational and commercial crabbers as possible." Scientists remain divided over whether the bay's crab population has been overfished.

The rules have been modified in response to complaints and suggestions from watermen and from the public, state officials said. Requirements for the construction of crab pots, which are boxlike wire traps, also have been altered slightly.

Commercial watermen will have to declare what day they intend to take off by putting "SUN" or "MON" in bold, 4-inch letters on the port sides of their boats near the stern.

Recreational and commercial crabbing will be allowed if the day off falls on a state or federal holiday.

The season, which began April 1, will end Nov. 30 instead of Dec. 31 as in the past. Watermen had urged the state to let them catch crabs until Dec. 15.

Pub Date: 4/30/96

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