Public meetings address next steps to protect crabs

October 18, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

As one of the worst crabbing seasons on record ends, the state Department of Natural Resources has scheduled three public meetings to discuss options for new restrictions for next season.

Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission have agreed to reduce their annual blue crab harvests by 15 percent over three years.

This year, Maryland officials estimated that they cut the harvest by 5 percent. It is unclear what shape new restrictions might take. They could include shortening the season, requiring watermen to take additional days off, increasing minimum sizes of crabs, and limiting harvests or gear.

The meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, on Oct. 30 in Room 219 of the Cade Building at Anne Arundel Community College, and on Nov. 1 at the Holiday Inn in Solomons.

"We are committed to protecting the blue crab fishery for future generations and will work with watermen, recreational crabbers and others ... to reach a consensus on how to achieve additional reductions for next season," said Natural Resources Secretary J. Charles Fox.

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