Watermen Say Striped Bass to Blame for Low Crab Numbers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Watermen Say Striped Bass to Blame for Low Crab Numbers

Posted: Updated:
Some of the Striped Bass caught on Larry Powley's boat Some of the Striped Bass caught on Larry Powley's boat
Courtesy: Jack Brooks.  One of the photos circulating the Internet, showing crabs found in the stomach of a Striped Bass Courtesy: Jack Brooks. One of the photos circulating the Internet, showing crabs found in the stomach of a Striped Bass

HOOPERS ISLAND, Md.- Watermen have been saying for months that striped bass, also called rockfish, have been eating crabs, and now they say they have proof.

A picture circulating the Internet since the first weekend of November shows a striped bass cut open with roughly 20 small crabs spilling out of it.

Watermen that spoke with WBOC said this is not a freak occurrence.

"That happens all the time.  Right across from here, I fish with my father in law right off the wharf, and one day we caught one that had 47, but see they're not going to advertise that because I guess the rockfish is the state fish now," said waterman Larry Powley.

Powley took this reporter out on his boat to show how many striped bass there are in the Chesapeake Bay.  He said he has to throw back most of what he catches because the quotas are too low, which leads to an overabundance of the fish.  He says striped bass will eat just about anything that moves, and since bay grasses are at a low this year due to Hurricane Sandy, the crabs have nowhere to hide.

"We have no grass no more, and the crab just lays on the bottom and gets soft, and that fish is just waiting for him to get soft enough to digest him." said Harry Phillips, owner of Russell Hall Seafood.

WBOC reached out to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to see if officials there believed this was why the crabs were so low in number this year. Brenda Davis, who is director of DNR's blue crab program, sent the following statement:

"There are no scientific data to support a supposition that Striped Bass predation is causing a significant depletion of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population. In fact, studies performed in Maryland and Virginia to assess the diets of striped bass indicated that blue crabs make up a small percentage of the average striped bass diet. According to an intensive study in 2000, fish, particularly Menhaden, account for 94 percent by weight of the striped bass diet. In fact, other studies have shown that cannibalism by large crabs was a major cause of juvenile crab mortality, accounting for 75 percent to 97 percent of the loss of juvenile crabs in certain locations. Juvenile crabs find protection in grass beds, which is also where striped bass and other predators find the best opportunities for catching them. Nonetheless, crab survival is best in vegetated habitats, where they can hide. Any effort to boost crab survival needs to look toward improving habitat and the protection of sea grass beds.

"There was a combination of environmental factors contributing to the high mortality of juvenile crabs in 2012 including Tropical Storm Sandy, abnormally warm and salty water, decreases in submerged aquatic vegetation coverage, a large influx of Red Drum into the Maryland portion of the bay, density-dependant mortality, and a large 2011 year class of striped bass.

We don't have a lot of data on impact of most of the factors on that list. However, we do have solid data that the Bay-wide harvest of spawning age female blue crabs has been at or below the 25.5 percent harvest target for five consecutive years.  The ability to keep harvest in the safe range puts us in a much better position than we've been in the past (specifically 1992 and 1997) with similar abundance declines." 

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Seeks Public Input

    Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Seeks Public Input

    Feb 23, 2018 3:06 AM2018-02-23 08:06:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:37 AM EST2018-02-23 12:37:03 GMT
    REHOBOTH BEACH, Del - The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays needs your help to update a comprehensive plan for managing the Inland Bays. The center has released a brief survey to address the community’s concerns relating to the health of the RehobMore
    The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is asking the public's help to update a comprehensive plan for managing the Inland Bays. More
  • Proposed Regulation Allowing Guns in Delaware State Parks Awaits Hearing in March

    Proposed Regulation Allowing Guns in Delaware State Parks Awaits Hearing in March

    Feb 22, 2018 10:41 PM2018-02-23 03:41:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:35 AM EST2018-02-23 12:35:24 GMT
    An outline of Killens Pond state park's restricted areas.An outline of Killens Pond state park's restricted areas.
    An outline of Killens Pond state park's restricted areas.An outline of Killens Pond state park's restricted areas.
    GEORGETOWN, Del. - Delaware officials held a public meeting on Thursday night to answer the community's questions about the proposed regulation allowing guns into Delaware State Parks. The Delaware Supreme Court ruled the previous ban on firearms inside sMore
    Delaware officials held a public meeting on Thursday night to answer the community's questions about the proposed regulation allowing guns into Delaware State Parks. More
  • Milford Man Arrested for Stealing Money From Employers

    Milford Man Arrested for Stealing Money from his Employers

    Feb 23, 2018 12:12 AM2018-02-23 05:12:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:33 AM EST2018-02-23 12:33:49 GMT
    Courtesy of the Milford Police Department Courtesy of the Milford Police Department
    Courtesy of the Milford Police DepartmentCourtesy of the Milford Police Department
    Milford police say they arrested a man on theft charges after they learned he had been writing checks out to himself from his employers.More
    Milford police say they arrested a man on theft charges after they learned he had been writing checks out to himself from his employers. More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Milford Man Arrested for Stealing Money From Employers

    Milford Man Arrested for Stealing Money from his Employers

    Feb 23, 2018 12:12 AM2018-02-23 05:12:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 7:33 AM EST2018-02-23 12:33:49 GMT
    Courtesy of the Milford Police Department Courtesy of the Milford Police Department
    Courtesy of the Milford Police DepartmentCourtesy of the Milford Police Department
    Milford police say they arrested a man on theft charges after they learned he had been writing checks out to himself from his employers.More
    Milford police say they arrested a man on theft charges after they learned he had been writing checks out to himself from his employers. More
  • Dover Police: 7, Including 4 Gang Members, Arrested in Drug and Firearm Investigation

    Police Arrest Seven, Including Gang Members, in Drug and Firearm Investigation

    Feb 22, 2018 1:52 PM2018-02-22 18:52:00 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 2:49 PM EST2018-02-22 19:49:46 GMT
    Jaymere Lewis, Jaleel Wayman, Michael Taylor; Photo Credit: Dover PoliceJaymere Lewis, Jaleel Wayman, Michael Taylor; Photo Credit: Dover Police
    Jaymere Lewis, Jaleel Wayman, Michael Taylor; Photo Credit: Dover PoliceJaymere Lewis, Jaleel Wayman, Michael Taylor; Photo Credit: Dover Police
    Dover police say seven people are in custody - including four gang members - after a drug and firearm investigation.More
    Dover police say seven people are in custody - including four gang members - after a drug and firearm investigation.More
  • DelDOT Has Long-Term Plans for Cashless Tolls

    DelDOT Has Long-Term Plans for Cashless Tolls

    Feb 21, 2018 6:49 PM2018-02-21 23:49:00 GMT
    Wednesday, February 21 2018 6:56 PM EST2018-02-21 23:56:11 GMT
    DOVER, Del. --- Drivers may one day be able to leave their cash and coins for tolls in Delaware at home because DelDOT plans to exclusively use electronic tolling in several years. C.R. McLeod, a DelDOT spokesman, said a pilot program on the new U.S. RoutMore
    DOVER, Del. --- Drivers may one day be able to leave their cash and coins for tolls in Delaware at home because DelDOT plans to exclusively use electronic tolling in several years. C.R. McLeod, a DelDOT spokesman, said a pilot program on the new U.S. RoutMore
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Headed Toward Maryland

    Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Headed Toward Maryland

    Farmers like Jennie Schmidt of Queen Anne's County know all too well how hard it is to grow grapes. And now Mother Nature, in the shape of a quarter-sized, red and black polka-dotted bug, is about to make Schmidt's job even more challenging. The spotted lanternfly, already pestering nearby states like Pennsylvania and Virginia, is on its way to Maryland.

    More

    Farmers like Jennie Schmidt of Queen Anne's County know all too well how hard it is to grow grapes. And now Mother Nature, in the shape of a quarter-sized, red and black polka-dotted bug, is about to make Schmidt's job even more challenging. The spotted lanternfly, already pestering nearby states like Pennsylvania and Virginia, is on its way to Maryland.

    More
  • Cruisin OC Heads back to Ocean City

    Cruisin OC Heads back to Ocean City

    It's official, Cruisin OC will be rolling through Ocean City once again in the Spring. Earlier this week, the council approved dates for the car show.
    Some locals say they're dreading for when those dates arrive. George Balunis, an Ocean City resident, says when the car events come into town, he stays inside.
    More
    It's official, Cruisin OC will be rolling through Ocean City once again in the Spring. Earlier this week, the council approved dates for the car show.
    Some locals say they're dreading for when those dates arrive. George Balunis, an Ocean City resident, says when the car events come into town, he stays inside.
    More
  • Medicare Fraud Lawsuit Names Private Ambulance Company & PRMC

    Medicare Fraud Lawsuit Names Private Ambulance Company & PRMC

    Federal authorities are investigating claims a private ambulance company committed Medicare fraud with the participation of Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

    A lawsuit filed in federal court outlines an alleged scheme to rake in tens of millions of dollars by over-billing Medicare on tens of thousands of non-emergency trips.

    More

    Federal authorities are investigating claims a private ambulance company committed Medicare fraud with the participation of Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

    A lawsuit filed in federal court outlines an alleged scheme to rake in tens of millions of dollars by over-billing Medicare on tens of thousands of non-emergency trips.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices