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Author Topic: Article on VA buyback program  (Read 3443 times)
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Tom Powers
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« on: September 07, 2009, 08:47:15 AM »

Va. hopeful for crab license buyback
Cory Nealon
Daily press 9/06/2009

State regulators will continue their $6.7 million crab license buyback, even though a similar effort failed last month in Maryland.

Announced in July by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the buyback is part of the state's multifaceted effort to rebuild stock of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab. The agency asked waterman to submit secret bids stating what they would accept in exchange for surrendering their license.

Regulators last week provided few details about the program, saying they didn't want to influence bidding, which continues until Nov. 1.

"At this point, based on the applications we've received, it's going very well," said Jack Travelstead, chief of fisheries management for the VMRC. "We're very pleased."

His optimism contrasts with the mood in Maryland, which announced its crab license buyback a few weeks before Virginia. Maryland set aside $3 million to reclaim licenses from 3,676 of its least active crabbers.

It scrapped the program, saying too few crabbers were willing to sell, and those who did asked for too much. It is offering a flat rate, $2,260, to the same crabbers.

The scenario is unlikely to repeat itself in Virginia for a variety of reasons, Travelstead said.

Like Maryland, Virginia received $15 million in federal disaster relief for crabs. But Virginia is committing more than double the money, $6.7 million, that Maryland proposed. Virginia also has fewer crab licenses, roughly 2,000.

VMRC is targeting full- and part-time crabbers, as well as 527 inactive licenses it suspended last fall, Travelstead said. It also is giving watermen three months to decide if they want to submit a bid Maryland gave three weeks.

"This is a tough decision for some folks," Travelstead said.

Watermen have expressed skepticism about the program. They have said a full-time crabber is likely to ask at least a couple hundred thousand dollars for his license, money they figure the state won't pay.

Still, Travelstead said, the VMRC is committed to restoring crab stocks, which surged 49 percent last year after plummeting to record lows earlier this decade.

The buyback is the latest in a series of measures canceling the winter dredging seasons, paying crabbers to fetch lost crab pots from the Chesapeake undertaken by the VMRC.

"It's definitely a unique opportunity for the fishermen," Travelstead said. "They shouldn't expect anything like this in the next several decades."
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garytoh
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 07:36:51 PM »

great info you gathered.....
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jessekaye
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 04:39:13 PM »

Very informative news..
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tattoo
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 07:39:01 PM »

good read , thanks  Wink
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