Natural Resources Police Kicks Off Campaign To Protect Crabs - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Natural Resources Police Kicks Off Campaign To Protect Crabs

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 CAMBRIDGE, Md.- It's a stern, but playful message from the Maryland Natural Resources Police.  Don't get pinched.

"Rest assured, we will do everything possible to catch the violators." says George Johnson, Superintendent of the NRP.

And they are going after every violation in the book, starting with size.

In Maryland there are strict limitations on just how small of a crab you can take from the Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries.  For male crabs for example, it's measured from point to point.  Usually it's five inches from point to point and higher you can keep it.  However, ever since July 15th that's gone up to five and a quarter inches.

For females, only mature crabs can be taken by commercial watermen, and no females are to be taken by recreational crabbers.  Other regulations being enforced include crab pot registration, daily catch limits, and harvest hours.

Aubrey Vincent at Lindy's Seafood believes enforcement of the existing regulations is the right way to go.

"I'm glad to see that active enforcement is the avenue that they are taking.  I think people need to see them out on the water and I think that's something that has been lacking a little bit.  I think the enforcement angle is important because they need to make sure people are doing what they need to do.  I'd like to have crabs here in the future." says Vincent.

She tells us in the past recreational crabbers have not been monitored as closely as commercial crabbers.  She is hoping that with this step up of enforcement, that is not the case this time.

For Jack Brooks at JM Clayton Company, a step up in enforcement during these hard times isn't what makes him nervous, but what could be on the horizon.

"The blue crab advisory committee, I think they are going to convene early to mid August, about more crab restrictions.  They really don't need more crab restrictions, they need to look more at the cause of the problem." says Brooks.

But until that time, the current regulations will be more strictly enforced by NRP officers across the state.

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