Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Consistently Cramming the Crabpot

Another report on the Bay, another indication that we're overharvesting its bounty. According to a recent report released by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science there are approximately 300 million crabs in the Bay, as opposed to two or three times that many as recently as 10 years ago.

Turns out that several times in the past 10 years, many more crabs were taken than should have been in order to sustain the population. The authors contend that, in order for the population to remain steady, no more than 50 percent of the legal-size crabs should be caught in a given year. In some of the years between 1998 and 2002, over 75 percent of the legal-sized crabs were taken by commercial watermen and recreational crabbers. The report also indicated that the levels of female crabs ready to breed have dropped precipitously, by perhaps as much as 80 percent.

We are, generally, a pretty smart group of people, or at least we like to think of ourselves as such. Certainly, no population in human history has had the unprecedented access to education and information that we currently have. Yet, with all this information, the reams of evidence in universities all across the watershed, and the obvious deterioration of the Bay and its resources before our eyes, we pretend like we're paralyzed to do anything about it.

Remember, we have not inherited the earth, we are merely borrowing it from future generations.

Callinectes sapides



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