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StevetheBeast
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« on: July 16, 2021, 10:30:02 AM »

Hey everybody,

im developing a project about atlantic blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) fishing in southern Italy and were having some troubles catching crabs.
We are fishing with baited (mainly chicken parts) traps in places with a good density of crabs (confirmed with both visual census and electrofishing) but we are still not able to catch any (sometimes only few small crabs).

At this link, you can see the three type of traps we are using: https://ibb.co/BZt5pFy

We check traps after at least 24 hours but often baits are still untouched. Pyramid traps did not catch anything in 20+ days, triangular ones caught only few small crabs and rectangular ones caught few sub-adults adjusting the entrance space to 4 5 cm.

Is it possible that the entrance (maybe too inclined?),  the mesh size (2 cm x 2 cm, is it too small?) or maybe something else is preventing the crabs from entering? Do you have any suggestions for modifying the traps?

Thanks a lot!

Stefano
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buddscreek
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2021, 11:53:08 AM »

  entrance maybe to small.. get some crab pots that are used in the mid atlantic area of the u.s.
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jack1747
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2021, 11:57:45 AM »

Stop trying to reinvent the crab pot.   The Chesapeake Bay pot/trap has been refined for along time.  It can not be improved on. Check this out -> https://www.bluecrab.info/crabpot/index.html

Plus click on the little crab on the bottom of any page to open the info section of the BCA.
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StevetheBeast
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2021, 01:18:19 PM »

Thank you very much for the answers!

Stop trying to reinvent the crab pot.   The Chesapeake Bay pot/trap has been refined for along time.  It can not be improved on.
Youre right; we should have followed the example of the most experienced blue crab fishermen of the word.
We tried to ship American crab pots but they were too expensive so our local artisan provided us with those traps. Now we are stuck with not working traps.

Do you think it would be wise to install entrance funnels like descripted in the useful link jack1747 provided me? It wont be the same thing as an original crab pot but maybe it could get us more crabs. Is there any other possible mod for improve our traps until new crab pots are built?

Stefano
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jack1747
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2021, 01:52:44 PM »

 Crabpot

Invented by Benjamine F. Lewis in the 1920's, patented in 1928, and perfected ten years later, the crabpot changed forever the way hard crabs are harvested on the Chesapeake Bay. The crabpot is the most common method used to catch and harvest crabs and is used worldwide. Click here to learn how to make your own.

The crabpot is a large square trap constructed out of galvanized chicken wire (some new pots are constructed out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) coated wire. Be warned that these "plastic" pots become dirty very easily, becoming contaminated with marine growth and barnacles. Also keep in mind that these pots must utilize stainless steel frames and clamps which drives up the cost.). The trap has two internal chambers. The bottom chamber, or "downstairs", consists of two or four entrance funnels, known as "throats", which allow the crab to easily enter but not exit. In the center of the bottom chamber is the "bait box" which is constructed of fine-mesh galvanized wire so that the crab cannot get to the bait. The top chamber is the holding area, known as the "parlor" or "upstairs". Crabs enter the parlor through oblong, funnel-shaped, holes cut into the floor of the parlor making it difficult for the crab to swim back downstairs.

CrabpotCrabpots are ingenious contraptions in that they utilize the crab's very own escape instincts in order to trap them. Crabs smell the bait and circle the pot, entering through one of the throats. Once inside and unable to reach the bait, the crab feels trapped and threatened. When threatened, a crab instinctively swims up towards the surface to escape, where it winds up inside the parlor. It remains in the parlor until removed through a special opening along one of the top edges.

Most crabpots have two small exit holes up high in the parlor called "cull rings". These rings are big enough to let small crabs escape yet small enough to trap the larger keepers.

Most people attach bricks or metal bars to the bottom of their pots which act as anchors. Commercial watermen will frame the bottom of their pots with steel reinforcement rods (rebar) which, aside from acting as anchor, make them much more durable. A long line is attached to the pot and a marker buoy (a cork or Styrofoam float) is attached. These marker buoys are painted bright colors and have unique markings to help distinguish them from other pots. The line must be rugged and it should not float (unless you attach a weight to the line). Weights are attached about 2-3 feet below the buoy which helps keep the line submerged and less prone to being cut by a boat propeller. Another item found on most commercial pots is a zinc anode. Since saltwater is very corrosive, sacrificial zinc anodes are attached to a pot which effectively doubles its life span (commercial pots without zinc anodes usually last only one or two seasons.)
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jack1747
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2021, 01:54:59 PM »

Thank you very much for the answers!
Youre right; we should have followed the example of the most experienced blue crab fishermen of the word.
We tried to ship American crab pots but they were too expensive so our local artisan provided us with those traps. Now we are stuck with not working traps.

Do you think it would be wise to install entrance funnels like descripted in the useful link jack1747 provided me? It wont be the same thing as an original crab pot but maybe it could get us more crabs. Is there any other possible mod for improve our traps until new crab pots are built?

Stefano

Yes funnels may help. They should be aimed slightly toward the surface other wise the crabs will crawl back out the way they came in.
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"Helping to Moderate the BCA since 2003" "I've gotten to the point in my life where I no longer give a [shiz] what people think, I'm not going to take any [shiz], because, frankly my dears, I am NOT in the [shiz] business." Quote from Suzy. :-)
StevetheBeast
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2021, 03:20:20 AM »

Thank you very much again.
I'm going to translate your intructions and guide in italian so our local artisan will be able to follow it.

Is the mesh size large (1 1/2'' = 3,81 cm) to letting out juveniles crabs or is it also to improve their effectiveness (perhaps a larger net mesh catches more big crabs)?
I don't know for sure if we are able to get the suggested wire (18-gauge with 1 1/2" mesh spacing) so i have to standardize measures. Correct me if I'm wrong: entrances must be 3 inches (= 7,62 cm) high and 6 inches (= 15.24 cm) long, right?

Have a nice day!
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xFishdogx
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2021, 11:10:33 AM »

You caught my eye that you are doing this in Italy.  My family is Italian(Giannasi) and was wondering how you cook them over there.  Just steam them as you would here? 
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StevetheBeast
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2021, 02:18:13 PM »

Quote
You caught my eye that you are doing this in Italy.  My family is Italian(Giannasi) and was wondering how you cook them over there.  Just steam them as you would here?
Hey xFishdogx,

C. sapidus is an alien species in Italy. It has been reported for the first time in 1949 in northern Italy and in the last decade, it has spread to most of the Italian coasts. I tell you this to explain that the blue crab is not part of Italian culinary traditions as it is in USA. People are quite suspicious of the species and do not buy it. One of the objectives of our project is to make known the species and its uses in cookery. Currently in Italy the blue crab is used to make bisque (broths) to flavor other dishes or it is cooked in sauces to season pasta. Some restaurants are starting to serve it boiled along with other shellfish. I have seen that in America the blue crab is part of many recipes but often they are not appreciated enough here.
Since your family is Italian and you probably share some tastes with them, which American recipes do you think could be appreciated by Italians too?

Stefano
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xFishdogx
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2021, 03:41:03 PM »

Honestly steamed crabs with melted butter, apple cider vinegar, or old bay is the go to for our family and for the most part here.  My father likes to pick the meat to make soups and crab cakes.  Also will use the roe from the females to make she crab soup.  I will even use the meat to stuff fish.  I think the part that turns people away from crabs in having to pick them.  Many people think its to much work but it should be seen more as an activity for friends and family to gather and enjoy together with a cold beer.  I think once you start catching them pretty good and steam a bunch of them,  it will gain popularity.  The Maryland population can't get enough of it.  They are willing to pay $90 a dozen for jumbo males.  
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jp57
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2021, 05:51:36 PM »

My Dad is Italian. When crabbing with him as a kid, he would occasionally keep some ones that were smaller than the limit. He would take off their top shell and clean them out while still on the boat and hide them in the cooler. He would cook them in a red sauce and serve them over pasta.
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2021, 07:10:03 PM »

crabs in red sauce is a big thing in the Italian community here. I never thought it was an improvement but thats just me, lol
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StevetheBeast
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2021, 09:59:53 AM »

Thanks for all your kind answers and thoughts, theyre really useful!

I think the part that turns people away from crabs in having to pick them.  Many people think its to much work 
I agree, maybe the problem can be partially solved by passing through the food supply chain, involving companies that process fish products or restaurants. In this way, processed and ready-to-use products can be placed on the market.

Is the mesh size large (1 1/2'' = 3,81 cm) to letting out juveniles crabs or is it also to improve their effectiveness (perhaps a larger net mesh catches more big crabs)?
I don't know for sure if we are able to get the suggested wire (18-gauge with 1 1/2" mesh spacing) so i have to standardize measures. Correct me if I'm wrong: entrances must be 3 inches (= 7,62 cm) high and 6 inches (= 15.24 cm) long, right?
Any thoughts about this?

Have a nice day guys
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jack1747
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2021, 10:46:13 AM »

Peeler pots/traps use 1 inch mesh.

https://www.vims.edu/GreyLit/VIMS/mrr84-1ocr.pdf
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"Helping to Moderate the BCA since 2003" "I've gotten to the point in my life where I no longer give a [shiz] what people think, I'm not going to take any [shiz], because, frankly my dears, I am NOT in the [shiz] business." Quote from Suzy. :-)
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2021, 12:05:11 AM »

For one thing, you dont have a central lower bait box. Meaning...crabs can eat your bait without having to come into trap.

Secondly, your entrance is all wrong. Entrance wall looks just like side, bottom, and top walls except it has a separate entrance design that you can copy from an American bluecrab pot.

The mesh size you use will work.

Use cut up bloody fish for best bait.


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Say brother....can you spare a crab...

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