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Author Topic: Article: Virginia's disaster aid would buy crab licenses from watermen  (Read 24427 times)
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Tom Powers
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« on: December 26, 2008, 10:52:10 AM »

Virginia's disaster aid would buy crab licenses from watermen

By Scott Harper
The Virginian-Pilot
December 26, 2008

Virginia wants to spend some of its $10 million in federal disaster aid to buy back licenses from watermen who would volunteer to no longer catch blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay.

The buyout option is one part of a larger state plan, described this week by state officials, to restore sagging crab stocks in the Bay and use federal money made available this year after the U.S. Commerce Department declared the crab fishery a federal disaster.

The department has not released any of the aid yet, mostly because Virginia has not completed its required plan on how it intends to use as much as $10 million over the next three years.

Maryland, which also will receive $10 million in disaster relief, already has turned in its plan, according to federal officials. It also has set aside $3 million in state money to put watermen to work. Most are conducting state environmental projects on the Bay.

Virginia, too, is dipping into state funds, authorizing up to $1 million to pay more than 50 watermen to trawl the Bay in search of abandoned traps that still catch and kill crabs.

John Bull, a spokesman for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, said the state expects to be reimbursed when federal aid arrives, probably early next year.

The commission had previously said it could not afford to tap state coffers. But "we made a command decision that we needed to get our program up and going," Bull said.

By reallocating dollars in recent weeks in the state Waterways Improvement Fund, Bull said, the commission has purchased side-scanning radars, installed the equipment onto watermen's boats, trained them on how to use the devices, and turned them loose in search of lost traps, also known as ghost pots.

The state is paying 58 watermen $300 per day and covering their fuel costs, too. Under the program, the watermen can work up to 50 days per year. They must photograph all ghost pots they collect and dispose of, Bull said. Most watermen in the work program are crab dredgers. The state this year banned such dredging, which involves scraping crabs - most of them females - from the Bay's bottom during winter months.

At least one dredger, Robert Hollowell, a Norfolk resident who has crabbed this way for 30 years, chose to stay home.

"I could have gotten in my boat and rode around, but I didn't want to do that," Hollowell said Wednesday. "It's a waste of taxpayers' money, and they need to be held accountable for where all that money goes."

But Ken Smith, president of the Virginia State Waterman's Association, said the program is helping the Bay, scientists and fishermen struggling to make ends meet.

"I had been very skeptical," Smith said, "but it's actually working pretty good. They're getting up pots, working with the scientists. It's a win-win."

L. Preston Bryant, the state secretary of natural resources, said the buy back initiative will be for active and unused, or latent, licenses. No one will force the watermen to give up their licenses, he said. Only those who volunteer will participate in what Bryant described as an "auction-based" system.

"That is, the state will allocate a certain amount of money for the buy back program, and the market will determine how many licenses the fund will accommodate," Bryant wrote in an e-mail this week.

When asked why it has taken Virginia so long to submit its relief plan to the Commerce Department and obtain federal aid, Bryant defended the state's approach.

"We have taken care to work with our watermen, discuss the matter with legislators, and work with our crab advisory committee," he wrote. "That level of outreach takes a little bit of time."

Bryant and others noted that other initiatives will be included in the plan. A scientific study of crab pots will be funded, for example, and the state is looking to involve watermen in various environmental research projects, such as planting sea grasses at various points in the Bay come springtime.

All money, though, will be funneled through watermen, officials said. Workers in crab packing houses and merchants suffering for lack of crabs to sell are not likely to receive aid, said Bull, the marine commission spokesman.

"We're designing this as a bridge, for doing the necessary construction work to restore crab stocks in the Bay so we can have a sustainable crab fishery," Bull said.

Citing scientific estimates, he said such a recovery could take two to three years.

Scott Harper, (757) 446-2340, [email protected]

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jack1747
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2008, 10:39:06 AM »

Can a waterman with a license on the Dormant List turn it in for a Buy Back?
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2008, 03:23:24 PM »

The $10 million was suppose to go to help the waterman now it will go to someone that has another job but holds a commercial license.If you get your income from the water why would you be willing to sell your license to the state.Any one willing to sell their license didn't get hurt by any of the new regulations cause they were not crabbing anyway!!!
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2008, 03:38:49 PM »

The $10 million was suppose to go to help the waterman now it will go to someone that has another job but holds a commercial license.If you get your income from the water why would you be willing to sell your license to the state.Any one willing to sell their license didn't get hurt by any of the new regulations cause they were not crabbing anyway!!!



How can you NOT AGREE WITH THAT.... 
Good Point Kevin...
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Tom Powers
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2008, 03:49:02 PM »

Jack

The concept of buy back was only mentioned once in the Crab Committee meeting.  It was a followup to a discussion where folks were talking about the value of a crab permit ($2,000 to $5,000 range) and how some individuals were holding on to them for the eventual sale as part of their "retirement".  The general gist was to soften the concept of setting the 800 permits on the self for the short term, which for many will end up meaning forever, not necessarily by regulation but by economics, age, etc.

One would hope that any buyback pricing formula would have some type of catch history involved with it.  Those with limited or no recent harvest history get offered a smaller amount with those that have a higher harvest history who CHOOSE to sell their permit are offered more.  The article talked about this matter going before the crab committee early on in the process.  I am confident that such a formula will be discussed.

The concept is that a reduction in participation will allow for loosening of the regulations the most likely would be to do away with the 30% reduction in the number of pots permitted for each license holder that went into effect last spring for peeler pots and this spring for hard pot.

Tom

« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 03:51:27 PM by Tom Powers » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2008, 05:17:34 PM »

All I've ever heard on these rec boards is "Commercial Fisherman shouldn't sit on Commercial Fisheries Commissions because it's same as the fox guarding the hen house".... Well the same can be said for a CCA member who sits on a commission that dictates policy on commercial fishery licenses.

The ultimate goal of the CCA is to put the commercial fishermen out of business. Any person who sits on one these boards and is a member of the CCA should resign his appointment.
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2008, 06:42:39 PM »

All I've ever heard on these rec boards is "Commercial Fisherman shouldn't sit on Commercial Fisheries Commissions because it's same as the fox guarding the hen house".... Well the same can be said for a CCA member who sits on a commission that dictates policy on commercial fishery licenses.

The ultimate goal of the CCA is to put the commercial fishermen out of business. Any person who sits on one these boards and is a member of the CCA should resign his appointment.



HOW CAN YOU "NOT" AGREE WITH THAT?

GOOD POINT REDS.. Grin
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2008, 07:33:48 PM »

All I've ever heard on these rec boards is "Commercial Fisherman shouldn't sit on Commercial Fisheries Commissions because it's same as the fox guarding the hen house".... Well the same can be said for a CCA member who sits on a commission that dictates policy on commercial fishery licenses.

The ultimate goal of the CCA is to put the commercial fishermen out of business. Any person who sits on one these boards and is a member of the CCA should resign his appointment.
"All I've ever heard on these rec boards is "

Would you kindly point me to those posts.... I read every post since being back and can not recall them.. If you want to start a fight between Commercial guys and Rec's, it is not going to happen here on the BCA...   Ps: don't bother going back more than 12 months, I wasn't here......  Cool 
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Tom Powers
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2008, 10:48:51 PM »

The blue crab committee that I sit on consists of about 8 commercial crabbers, 4 owners of crab picking houses, one environmental (CBF) representative and one recreational representative (me).

Those that post this stuff on this board must not know me very well as I have a reputation of not voting for the official CCA position on issues on a regular basis.  When I serve on committees I represent all Virginian's (or the resource itself) not just the members of a specific organization.

If you want to take pot shots at me for what I do on these committees please review the minutes, etc. and cite specific examples of what you have objections to.  This stuff of saying that because I am an active member of CCA means that I support every position that they have or may have taken in the past is getting old.

Oh and many of the most "hard line" restrictions that come out of the crab committee come from active commercial crabbers or the owners of crab picking houses.

Lastly a point of order regarding positions that I am aware of that CCA-VA has taken in the past.  It has always been a case of a balanced Commission and stakeholder committees not exclusion of commercial representation.

Tom
« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 10:54:17 PM by Tom Powers » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2008, 07:08:11 AM »

The blue crab committee that I sit on consists of about 8 commercial crabbers, 4 owners of crab picking houses, one environmental (CBF) representative and one recreational representative (me).

Those that post this stuff on this board must not know me very well as I have a reputation of not voting for the official CCA position on issues on a regular basis.  When I serve on committees I represent all Virginian's (or the resource itself) not just the members of a specific organization.

If you want to take pot shots at me for what I do on these committees please review the minutes, etc. and cite specific examples of what you have objections to.  This stuff of saying that because I am an active member of CCA means that I support every position that they have or may have taken in the past is getting old.

Oh and many of the most "hard line" restrictions that come out of the crab committee come from active commercial crabbers or the owners of crab picking houses.

Lastly a point of order regarding positions that I am aware of that CCA-VA has taken in the past.  It has always been a case of a balanced Commission and stakeholder committees not exclusion of commercial representation.

Tom

 You must condone the CCA's agenda or you wouldn't belong.

"I have a reputation of not voting for the official CCA position on issues on a regular basis."

Any % of the time is an agenda of trying to put commercial fishermen out of business.
 
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2008, 07:36:15 AM »

"All I've ever heard on these rec boards is "

Would you kindly point me to those posts.... I read every post since being back and can not recall them.. If you want to start a fight between Commercial guys and Rec's, it is not going to happen here on the BCA...   Ps: don't bother going back more than 12 months, I wasn't here......  Cool 

I don't want to start a fight with anyone, but I think if you intend to moderate these boards in a fair manner, you should be mindful that Mr Powers is an official in the Virginia CCA and also holds a position on a Virginia Government Board that could take away a waterman's license.

What is posting this tripe,  but an intension to cause problems on here?

One would hope that any buyback pricing formula would have some type of catch history involved with it.  Those with limited or no recent harvest history get offered a smaller amount with those that have a higher harvest history who CHOOSE to sell their permit are offered more. 

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Tom Powers
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2008, 08:50:00 AM »

Cause problems on here?
 
No it is a statement of my opinion. . .

What would you propose for a payment schedule for a voluntary buy back program when 1/3 of the licenses that are potentially available for buyback have no documented landings in the past 4 years?

Go ahead post a fee schedule here and I will make sure that it goes onto the table, especially if you are a Virginia Waterman.  Either that or send it to VMRC staff member Jack Travelstead at [email protected]  However, if you send it to him you will need to include your real name and address. 

With respect to the "boards" that I sit on they are Advisory committees.  They only advise the Commission regarding the matters.  The advisory committees have no authority to take away licenses.  If I were to serve on the Commission then it would be inappropriate for me to discuss these matters on this board beyond posting catch reports and clarifying regulations.  Not because of any rules associated with the board rather the ethics associated with being on a state board that does have the authority to impact regulations, etc.

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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2008, 09:29:35 AM »

Cause problems on here?
 
No it is a statement of my opinion. . .

What would you propose for a payment schedule for a voluntary buy back program when 1/3 of the licenses that are potentially available for buyback have no documented landings in the past 4 years?

Go ahead post a fee schedule here and I will make sure that it goes onto the table, especially if you are a Virginia Waterman.  Either that or send it to VMRC staff member Jack Travelstead at [email protected]  However, if you send it to him you will need to include your real name and address. 

With respect to the "boards" that I sit on they are Advisory committees.  They only advise the Commission regarding the matters.  The advisory committees have no authority to take away licenses.  If I were to serve on the Commission then it would be inappropriate for me to discuss these matters on this board beyond posting catch reports and clarifying regulations.  Not because of any rules associated with the board rather the ethics associated with being on a state board that does have the authority to impact regulations, etc.



Did Virginia have a fee schedule on the crab licenses, according to the amount a person was anticipating catching, when the licenses was issued??....
Why then should there be a schedule on a buyback? It was a limited entry when the license was issued, it is still a limited entry now. The amount of catch doesn't have any thing to do with it's value, because it is not a free enterprise business.     

« Last Edit: December 28, 2008, 09:31:36 AM by reds » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2008, 09:32:17 AM »

I don't want to start a fight with anyone, but I think if you intend to moderate these boards in a fair manner, you should be mindful that Mr Powers is an official in the Virginia CCA and also holds a position on a Virginia Government Board that could take away a waterman's license.

What is posting this tripe,  but an intension to cause problems on here?

One would hope that any buyback pricing formula would have some type of catch history involved with it.  Those with limited or no recent harvest history get offered a smaller amount with those that have a higher harvest history who CHOOSE to sell their permit are offered more. 


I have known Tom, via the BCA, for many years.  Over that time I have found his input here informative to say the least.  Haven't always agreed with him on everything but he has been fair. 
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2008, 09:45:08 AM »

I have known Tom, via the BCA, for many years.  Over that time I have found his input here informative to say the least.  Haven't always agreed with him on everything but he has been fair. 

Sorry, but you can't hold a high position in the CCA and be fair to the waterman's point of view. The elite in the CCA wouldn't let you hold a high position for very long.

I also have known Tom thru INTERNET Boards, probably longer then you.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2008, 09:47:02 AM by reds » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2008, 10:00:39 AM »

The $10 million was suppose to go to help the waterman now it will go to someone that has another job but holds a commercial license.If you get your income from the water why would you be willing to sell your license to the state.Any one willing to sell their license didn't get hurt by any of the new regulations cause they were not crabbing anyway!!!




If the people holding a Va. License has "NO" Landings on their License, the State should take them and Pay em NOTHING.... Give the money to the Watermen who were put out of work..
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2008, 11:07:37 AM »

"Did Virginia have a fee schedule on the crab licenses, according to the amount a person was anticipating catching, when the licenses was issued??...."

Not by catch but by amount of gear, which in theory equates to potential catch. . . The fee structure is graduated by number of pots issued to the permit.

So if you don't like my general opinion on a, yet to be defined, buy back payment structure suggest your own.
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2008, 12:05:28 PM »

All I've ever heard on these rec boards is "Commercial Fisherman shouldn't sit on Commercial Fisheries Commissions because it's same as the fox guarding the hen house".... Well the same can be said for a CCA member who sits on a commission that dictates policy on commercial fishery licenses.

The ultimate goal of the CCA is to put the commercial fishermen out of business. Any person who sits on one these boards and is a member of the CCA should resign his appointment.


What Gene says, Good Point Reds!

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Watermen and Seafood, Can't Have One Without The Other
Tom Powers
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2008, 02:42:15 PM »




If the people holding a Va. License has "NO" Landings on their License, the State should take them and Pay em NOTHING.... Give the money to the Watermen who were put out of work..

Exactly the point behind my suggestion that seems to have gotten Reds wound up (this time)

"One would hope that any buyback pricing formula would have some type of catch history involved with it.  Those with limited or no recent harvest history get offered a smaller amount with those that have a higher harvest history who CHOOSE to sell their permit are offered more.  The article talked about this matter going before the crab committee early on in the process.  I am confident that such a formula will be discussed."

We will see (a) how much money is available for buyouts, (b) how many folks would be willing to volunteer for the program. 

So the questions remain:

What should be the offered value for an inactive license?

How much for one that averaged 2000 pounds a year over a 4 or 5 year period?

How much for one that averaged 10,000 pounds a year over that same period?

How much for one that averaged 50,000 pounds a year over the same period?

Folks can decide for themselves take potshots at Tom or discuss the issues at hand.

BTW these are stakeholder committees they are SUPPOSED to have representatives from the user groups.  With respect to Commissions, etc., they either need to have some sort of balance or no users on them.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2008, 02:45:30 PM by Tom Powers » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2008, 08:03:01 AM »

Exactly the point behind my suggestion that seems to have gotten Reds wound up (this time)

"One would hope that any buyback pricing formula would have some type of catch history involved with it.  Those with limited or no recent harvest history get offered a smaller amount with those that have a higher harvest history who CHOOSE to sell their permit are offered more.  The article talked about this matter going before the crab committee early on in the process.  I am confident that such a formula will be discussed."

We will see (a) how much money is available for buyouts, (b) how many folks would be willing to volunteer for the program. 

So the questions remain:

What should be the offered value for an inactive license?

How much for one that averaged 2000 pounds a year over a 4 or 5 year period?

How much for one that averaged 10,000 pounds a year over that same period?

How much for one that averaged 50,000 pounds a year over the same period?

Folks can decide for themselves take potshots at Tom or discuss the issues at hand.

BTW these are stakeholder committees they are SUPPOSED to have representatives from the user groups.  With respect to Commissions, etc., they either need to have some sort of balance or no users on them.

Stakeholder committees should have stakeholders on them, not someone who doesn't have a stake in the fishery. Do you make your living on the water? Why then are you on a committee that has to do with commercial fishing?

Recently it has become obvious that CCA National runs the whole show. Important decisions are decided in Texas. Maybe the answer is to have Virginia appoint a person from CCA National to sit in your place. Side step any possible miscommunication relayed to Texas. Maryland DNR is aware that Texas rules the show, How long before Virginia wakes up?







« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 08:06:28 AM by reds » Logged

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