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I tried doing this on the crab population thread but it keeps telling me that the topic doesn't exist.

Back in the 70's a few of us would make two trips a year down to Rock Hall Maryland for striper fishing. We chartered a boat and always had good catches and loads of fun.

Then the big decline. After many years of fishing the same boat the captain told us he wouldn't be available for the next season. Said the fishing was getting harder and harder and he was switching over to crabbing.

The company I work for has a plant down in Maryland right on the bay. One of the guys down there has just retired and worked there for over 40 years. The plant sits right at the edge of a marina. The marina is more of a working marina with just a few recreational boats. Most are the 25 - 35 foot work boats that thrived along the bay.

My friend recalls back in the 60's when these boats would come in just about every day loaded with stripers. He said that the mind set down there was the bay is full of them and you couldn't catch enough to hurt the population.

Then the decline and fish were hard to find. The water was polluted, the fish were over fished and development was killing off the spawning grounds.
He watched as the majority of the boats switched over to crabbing and once again life was good. Bushels and bushels for every boat. Didn't have to go far or work as hard and the crabs covered the bottom. Then the decline.

He would laugh when he listened to the crabbers complain that the stripers were eating the crabs. Even when there weren't many stripers around they were blamed for eating all the crabs.

Now he said that the boats have switched gears again. Somewhere a market is thriving for oyster crackers. The buyers can't get enough to meet their needs. Now the fleet is potting oyster crackers and every day they are landing basket after basket.

My friend told me that he has always been fascinated by these commercial fisherman. When something is hot they go after it non stop and their attitude is the supply will never fale. Every time it does and they start pointing their fingers but never look in the mirror.

My friend is a laid back local. He has no axe to grind because the man has never fished a day in his life. He is content to sit back and watch the trends along the waterway.

When he retired he told me that he wonders what will happen when one day there is nothing left for these guys to catch. I told him to keep watching because when you hit oyster crackers the bottom of the barrel is about one more scoop away.
 

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I visited a Chinese fish market in Chinatown in Phila. They had a huge fish tank stuffed with live oyster crackers. I spoke with a clerk and he told me oyster crackers are big business in the Chinese community. Times that with all the Chinese comunities in this country times exports and I can see where this is going. Remember what is going on with eels. Commercial people have to make a living, but they will find that without self imposed conservation that living will be harder and harder to come by. When you buy a bushel of crabs times that by all the other bushels being bought on the same day times 24/7, that's a lot of crabs. The barrel has a bottom.
Just my buck eighty.
 

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Very true. Maryland did a study the last few years and came out with who takes all the crabs.

recreational crabbers take just 7% of the harvest every year. Commercials take 93% of the catch. It's a no-brainer when the pop goes down. the weather/striper pop figures in too but you can't argue where they all went with stats like that
 

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Originally posted by WETDREAM:
Very true. Maryland did a study the last few years and came out with who takes all the crabs.

recreational crabbers take just 7% of the harvest every year. Commercials take 93% of the catch. It's a no-brainer when the pop goes down. the weather/striper pop figures in too but you can't argue where they all went with stats like that
WHO WILL GET THE BLAME??
 

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That is very interesting what the heck are they useing the oyster crackers for ?
 

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Quahog,

They eat them. I mentioned to the clerk that I have been throwing them back for over 40 years and he told me I threw away a fortune. The problem for sport fishermen is keeping them alive and in good condition. I asked how they prepared them and all he would say is they eat the whole fish. :eek: I can tell you though that there had to be over 500 fish in that tank, that tells me that they are a big seller or if they don't sell them all, they have to be doing something else with the ones that die. Throwing them away? Using the dead ones for some kind of dish? :confused:

[ 01-30-2004, 05:07 PM: Message edited by: capthersch ]
 

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capthearsh, I'm not sure that it is too hard to keep them alive. I went into a local fish retailer a few yrs back, and in the rear room, was a box about 5ft square. Also about 1ft high. I noticed that whatever was in it was moving. Oyster Crackers! :eek: :eek: I don't know how many, but more than I've caught. That was the only thing in there. JUST crackers! They must be a hardy fish.
 

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they are Chinese Cinnamon Buns :D :D
 

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Chunking,

Your post spoke volumes! I have been screaming that same info for years. Stripers eating all the crabs......it is silly really!

As for the oyster cracker thing, I spoke to a few commercial guys and they said that a few short seasons ago, there was a good buck in those critters, about 2 bucks each to be exact! Of course, word got around and every commercial boat that worked the bottom had a live tank installed to keep these ugly thingies alive for market. the market was flooded and the price plummeted, imagine that....now they offer about 75 cents or a buck per fish.

I asked a lady in chinatown what they do with them and here it goes...........the smaller ones are used whole to make fish stock, she said that they make an amazing stock. The larger ones, remember those crackers at about 3 lb each? I do!, they are steamed whole and the skin is easily removed and the "loins" are pulled away much like Monkfish.

It never ceases to amaze me what happens when $$$ is the motivator. I remember as a kid and not all that long ago too, wondering 'what the hell are these ugle things good for'? At the time I NEVER imagined that anyone would eat them. When I saw the first ones in the markets, I thought it was a mistake...............You know, now I KNOW that it is a mistake! These fish serve some purpose there is no doubt, we are going to find out exactly what that purpose is once the population crashes :mad:

Probably the worst part of this whole mess is that since anglers realy don't appreciate the oyster toadfish (cracker) too much, the commercial slaughter will continue "in the shadows" until the population crashes.

Here we go again...another commercial only fishery that will crash without any help from the recreational sector......I wonder what kind of limits they will foist upon us when the population crashes :D
 

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IF YOU CATCH A CRACKER YOU WILL HAVE TO PICK UP AND MOVE.LIKE BAWUGNA SAID IT WILL BE ABOUT 70% OUR FAULT AND IF THEY FIND ANOTHER USE FOR THEM IT WILL BE 95% US.
 

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When I was just a puppy, my parents bought a house 1/2 block from the bay. I remeber crabbing from the piers and the crabs were plentiful. You could just take a net at night and scoop the crabs off the pilings. I would pull a seine net during the day and catch bushels of large crabs. There were so many crabs in the yacht club, they were having problems with them they were so thick. I enjoyed watching some of the men from the hood, shooting the crabs that swam on top, with shot guns. Then the water polution became a big factor. The crabs declined in numbers, and never made a come back. The fishing declined also. You can blame it on anything you want. I was there, and I know it was started by the polution.

There were so many crabs, my buddy and I would catch so many crabs everyday. We would go up and down streets knocking on doors, selling large males for 10 cents a piece. We would then treat all the kids in our hood to pizza, soda and ice cream every night. Of course back then you could buy a brand new car for $1000. HAPPY DAYS.


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When I was just a puppy, my parents bought a house 1/2 block from the bay. I remeber crabbing from the piers and the crabs were plentiful. You could just take a net at night and scoop the crabs off the pilings. I would pull a seine net during the day and catch bushels of large crabs. There were so many crabs in the yacht club, they were having problems with them they were so thick. I enjoyed watching some of the men from the hood, shooting the crabs that swam on top, with shot guns. Then the water polution became a big factor. The crabs declined in numbers, and never made a come back. The fishing declined also. You can blame it on anything you want. I was there, and I know it was started by the polution.

There were so many crabs, my buddy and I would catch so many crabs everyday. We would go up and down streets knocking on doors, selling large males for 10 cents a piece. We would then treat all the kids in our hood to pizza, soda and ice cream every night. Of course back then you could buy a brand new car for $1000. HAPPY DAYS.


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