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Author Topic: 2017 Winter Dredge Report  (Read 6060 times)
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jack1747
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« on: April 19, 2017, 01:23:19 PM »

The Virginia Marine Resources
Commission today released the results of the
2017 blue crab winter dredge survey, which shows a 31 percent increase in adult female crabs
and forecasts another year of improved harvests.

http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/news_releases/2017/VMRC_2017_Crab_WDS_Survey_Results.pdf

This is the highest level of adult, spawning age females recorded in the 28 year history of the
bay-wide crab winter dredge survey.
“The big picture is the stock overall is in pretty good shape,’’ said VMRC Commissioner John
M.R. Bull. “This year’s harvest should be substantial and consumers should find plenty of tasty
crabs for the dinner table. Challenges remain, however, and we need to remain vigilant and
cautious in our management of this ecologically and economically important stock.”
The results of the 2017 winter dredge survey show the total population
of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay fell a bit, by 18 percent, due to a
decline in the number of juvenile crabs, but remains at the 11th
 highest level ever recorded by the winter dredge survey.
This year’s female spawning stock increased by 31 percent, from 194 million to 254 million
crabs, which surpassed the scientifically recommended target of 215 million spawning female
crabs and remains well above the minimum safe threshold of 70 million crabs.
Spawning age female crabs are the cornerstone to maintaining a vibrant
crab stock, and depend on conservative and cooperative fishery management efforts among the Bay jurisdictions.  This is the highest level of adult, spawning age females recorded in the 28 year history of the bay-wide crab winter dredge survey.
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evinrude 130
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 05:34:45 PM »

  Absolutely no proof has been found that the regulations changed in 2008 for restrictions on females caused the high numbers of females, LOL. Crabs are cylical, every 28 years sounds right.laugh laugh

 This dredge report is great news for all crabbers. Seems the season has started out great so far. Let's see what happens in the fall. If it continues thru the end of the season, maybe some record on crabs caught will be set.  Hope so. Nothing better then eating steamed crabs.
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 08:45:18 AM »

Crab numbers are down. Doesn't look good.
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Mr. Breeze
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 09:58:00 AM »

Crab numbers are down. Doesn't look good.

females way up,  adult males down 16 and juvies in the toilet.  doesn't sound too good to me
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 11:03:14 AM »

 Absolutely no proof has been found that the regulations changed in 2008 for restrictions on females caused the high numbers of females, LOL. Crabs are cylical, every 28 years sounds right.laugh laugh

 This dredge report is great news for all crabbers. Seems the season has started out great so far. Let's see what happens in the fall. If it continues thru the end of the season, maybe some record on crabs caught will be set.  Hope so. Nothing better then eating steamed crabs.
What would you need for proof?
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evinrude 130
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 03:59:50 PM »

There isn't any proof, just the dredge report. If the numbers they come up with coincide with a good crab season, they were correct. At this point, time will tell when the final tally is calculated at the end of the year.

 But ask anyone who has crabbed these last several seasons. Crabbing has been good, and part of the reason is an abundance of females.  But male crabs now can only be caught by recs, plus what the commercial sector catches. Lot of pressure on male crabs. 
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 02:58:58 AM »

Since the female population has gone up since the 2008 regulations were put in place that's what I would call proof. Yes, it has been established that we now have a shortage of male crabs to go around for the number of growing females to rebuild the low numbers of crabs .Lowering the male crab size to 5 in. will likely make matters worse. We will never see crabbing like it was in the 70s and 80s where potters at the time could catch 30 -50 bu.a day in the upper bay with 20 bu. being a slow day during summer. I was one of them and there are many more still around that could tell you about it. Some of the watermen's children, mostly in their 50s now that I still go see were lucky to catch 10 bushels a day last year  in the upper bay. That would have been called a very bad year during the 70s/80s . Unless I went to their docks on the bad days last year, that's all I saw them come in with. So, it may be considered good compared to the recent past, but it's a far cry compared to what it was and could be again if managed properly and not politically .
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 05:18:34 AM »

Ok, so decreasing the pressure on females has increased the pressure on males and now you have less males.

Well done!
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 06:31:12 AM »

 Well what the [Sam Hill] is managed properly and what is managed politically? Why hasen't it been managed properly in the last 28 years ,what is being done wrong? So pollution isn't a problem? loss of bay grasses where the little ones can hide from the rebounded rockfish stocks or the over populated cownose ray numbers??? niethercrab you make statements that make me think that someone could do something more politically correct and save the crabs. Brenda Davis may have been a very good marine bioloigist but in all this time no one has brought crabs back to 60s- 70s levels but why.because you can't turn back time and change an ecosystem that forever changed. Niethercrab, i just don't understand any points you make.  If you sir could become the only one to say how crabs were managed what would you do??? and don't tell us you would do what the marine bioligest say to do because they have been managing crabs through many mostly democratic and only some republican administrations since all of time here in md. So, what say you mr fixit?
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 10:15:50 AM »

Everyone has their own theories based off hearsay/experience or what they believe are facts from outside sources.  Truth is, no one really knows for sure and how to fix it is not up to us.  We can only do what we think is best.  As a rec I throw back white bottoms and flexors or just legals to allow them to fatten up.  Because I'd rather have a 1/2 of bushel of heavy black bottoms than a bushel of mixed.  For comms, lets be real.  Them boys work fing hard to make a livin and their cost always goes up year after year.  Whether it's fuel, boat maintenance, bait or taxes the [shiz] adds up.  Then the retailers tell Comms will pay you less than a $80 per bushel for #1's because imports from NC, Louisiana and TX drive down prices for subpar meat(IMO) - no matter how much seasoning you add.  Then they triple their profits at the table charging $80-100 a dozen to the summer mallet smashers who don't know no better because some have never tasted a Wye or Chester river crab(S.O.B. them boys are so sweet in September I can almost taste it).  So anyone here telling a comm how and what to do with their catch needs to check themselves and appreciate what you have before judging others.  If I had a say, MD crabs should be sold at a premium like a 30 day dry-aged slab of sirloin or ribeye.   

The CBF, while some say are politically driven are critical to keeping the waters healthy by planting buffer trees around farmland and creating oyster reefs to clean the water so bay grasses can grow to help little jimmies hide from predators and grow-up to be a #1.  Don't forget what happened in the 1980's when runoff created dead zones from nitrogen and phosphorus.  Getting crab numbers back to the 60s-70s should be ALL of our goals and while it's ambitious I will continue donate $25 a month to CBF to support that idea.  Because I'll believe a biologist with a background like Brenda Davis whose donated her life to the management of the Bay over a two-bit politician.

Science data from the winter dredge is a valid resource and I feel like regulations should be set by professionals with the help from watermen and DNR, so everyone has a say.  The Governor's office should keep out of it to avoid conflict of interest because donor money always TRUMPS the appropriate decision. 

"So, with nothing positive guaranteed from a moratorium, Davis argued convincingly that a complete ban on the harvest would do more harm than good; it would put watermen out of work while accomplishing little biologically." 

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/dan-rodricks-blog/bs-md-rodricks-0305-20170304-story.html
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 10:36:33 AM »

Well what the [Sam Hill] is managed properly and what is managed politically? Why hasen't it been managed properly in the last 28 years ,what is being done wrong? So pollution isn't a problem? loss of bay grasses where the little ones can hide from the rebounded rockfish stocks or the over populated cownose ray numbers??? niethercrab you make statements that make me think that someone could do something more politically correct and save the crabs. Brenda Davis may have been a very good marine bioloigist but in all this time no one has brought crabs back to 60s- 70s levels but why.because you can't turn back time and change an ecosystem that forever changed. Niethercrab, i just don't understand any points you make.  If you sir could become the only one to say how crabs were managed what would you do??? and don't tell us you would do what the marine bioligest say to do because they have been managing crabs through many mostly democratic and only some republican administrations since all of time here in md. So, what say you mr fixit?
I would have done what Brenda Davis did and keep the 5.25 in. minimum in place to help keep enough sexually mature males available to breed  with  the growing population of females .If it is cyclic and if we keep the same size limits in place and the fishery goes south we will have to either cut harvest or let the crab population  dwindle to nothing and nobody wins. The commercial crabbers, the recreational crabbers, crab meat processors , restaurants, carry outs, hucksters, the crabbing supply industry, boat builders  etc. all lose .  Sure pollution is a problem and loss of savs are a problem but those things have been a problem for decades and I'm convinced after waiting 45 years that those problems are here to stay . Do you believe that if a moratorium on crabs was in place right now for a few years( I am not for that) that the crab population would be the same, regardless of pollution or lack of savs and what ever mother nature has to dish out? Over harvesting is the biggest problem of them all but no one wants to go there, especially elected officials. It's better to have less than nothing.
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 10:38:40 AM »

We also need a program for post season catch results from Comms and Recs.  Enough with the guessing game.
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 10:47:40 AM »

We also need a program for post season catch results from Comms and Recs.  Enough with the guessing game.
Good point.
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 11:42:14 AM »

 Niether crab i am also not for a moritorium since crabs only line 3 to 5 years you'd have natural die off that would make progress nil. I also believe that the spawned crabs during that time would feed the preditors well with hardly anywhere to hide. there 's no fix out there till the bay gets better and i truley believe that. I have not heard anyting about the size limits yet and i don't think they will change for just a few guys who would benifit but if the do so what. IMHO right now the concern is that the sooks will be mating with the smaller crabs more often now that there are less males overall  and those genes could produce smaller males maybe and only mother nature will decide. Also if the loosen the sook limits it could lower the pressure on the males.
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 01:48:19 PM »

They know exactly what the commercial sector brings in every month because we file reports. They were so concerned about latent effort among the commercial sector if crabbing got good again. I saw an exponential growth in recreational pressure last year and guess who can only keep males? Not that any one thing is to blame but they need to get a handle on all the factors and a real recreational harvest number and not an estimation is a must.
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 02:13:51 PM »

You're correct good Sir!

They know exactly what the commercial sector brings in every month because we file reports. They were so concerned about latent effort among the commercial sector if crabbing got good again. I saw an exponential growth in recreational pressure last year and guess who can only keep males? Not that any one thing is to blame but they need to get a handle on all the factors and a real recreational harvest number and not an estimation is a must.
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 02:42:28 PM »

Well what the [Sam Hill] is managed properly and what is managed politically? Why hasen't it been managed properly in the last 28 years ,what is being done wrong? So pollution isn't a problem? loss of bay grasses where the little ones can hide from the rebounded rockfish stocks or the over populated cownose ray numbers??? niethercrab you make statements that make me think that someone could do something more politically correct and save the crabs. Brenda Davis may have been a very good marine bioloigist but in all this time no one has brought crabs back to 60s- 70s levels but why.because you can't turn back time and change an ecosystem that forever changed. Niethercrab, i just don't understand any points you make.  If you sir could become the only one to say how crabs were managed what would you do??? and don't tell us you would do what the marine bioligest say to do because they have been managing crabs through many mostly democratic and only some republican administrations since all of time here in md. So, what say you mr fixit?

None of it's managed properly; it's all politically driven.  That's why there's a lot less now then there was 100 years ago.
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jack1747
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2017, 05:16:08 PM »

I was told by a VERY informed individual, off the record, that "we don't know what to do.  We haven't any new ideas." Roll Eyes
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2017, 05:41:45 PM »

Pass the popcorn, LOL. I think folks should take a hard look at crab, oyster, and fish management. Who complains the most with policy changes? Who is affected the most by any changes made. Who is still complaining about the regulations set in motion in 2008?  Things could have been implemented earlier then 2008.  Those lobbying their local politicians , have the upper hand back then.  Wasn't until populations got to a critical point that folks started to worry about the future of the Bay's resources.

 Yea, plenty of excuses why the resources are suffering. Pollution, heavy pressure on catching the most folks are allowed to catch. But let's not act like these problems just surfaced recently.

 Posters keep mentioning Dems and Repub's as part of the reason. Those politicians just do what the imposing group wants done. Until recently, only folks using the Bay for it's resources were involved with decision making and contacting their local politicians. With the internet and local news media, I'll bet folks are  finding out about what's happening with the Bay and also contacting the politicians.  Those politicians are just following the path of money that is the driving force with  their decisions.

 Anyway, the crabs have been better these last several years and I hope it continues to be like that for years to come. But it's a known fact that the Bays resource  balance has been offset by some  fishery management decisions.  Now we have less males then females according to the dredge report. A decline in male population could be a huge problem for the future.
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2017, 08:51:17 PM »

I was told by a VERY informed individual, off the record, that "we don't know what to do.  We haven't any new ideas." Roll Eyes


My suggestion would be to get a handle on the rec harvest. The number of recreational crabbers today as compared to the 1960's through
1980's and maybe even 1990's is exponentially higher. Add the internet where catches are reported to stir interest, techniques and patiently
learned lessons are shared with everyone and anyone, and the pressure on the crab population is extreme. Just look at the number of
members on THIS board alone. Commercial crabbing licenses have been reduced in number from years past and capped to prevent runaway
effort. It's way past time for the same type of constraints to be applied to the recreational sector.
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