Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Coms Leave Crab Catch Talks

Commercial fishermen's group leaves crab management discussions, catch share opposition cited
A watermen's group has stopped participating in discussions on crab management with the group's head saying members oppose proposals for a catch-share system.

The Chesapeake Bay Commercial Fishermen's Association voted last month to pull out of the Blue Crab Industry Design Team formed in March. Other members include the Environmental Defense Fund and the state Department of Natural Resources.

Association president Gibby Dean says EDF has been pushing catch shares nationwide and continued to support the approach in the talks despite opposition in Maryland. Dean says he hopes to continue talks with the Department of Natural Resources.

Catch share systems set a harvest limit and divide that amount among fishermen, who can then catch, sell or lease their shares. Opponents say it gives an advantage to larger, non-local operations.
Catch shares have been the most successful fisheries strategy for protecting the stock ever invented.  By giving individual commercial fishermen the a fixed quota to hit, the incentive to catch their own limit, and not to exceed it, and to report fellow commercial fishermen who are cheating on their shares.  Watch a few episodes of "Deadliest Catch" to see how effectively the catch share work to keep the commercial fishermen accounting for their quota.  You can easily see why coms would rather have the current system where rules are set designed to restrict the catch to a particular amount, and the everyone fishes as hard as they can to get as much as they can, and hopefully, DNR won't shut them down until well after the desired total catch has been achieved.

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