May 3, 2004 Volume 28, No. 5
FEDS PROPOSING T.E.D. RULE CHANGE
National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing a rule change that would allow
shrimpers to use a flap that can be as long as 24 inches past the back edge of
the TED frame.
The exact wording of the proposed change is, "Specifically, the proposed
rule would allow a single-grid hard TED with the escape opening cut of at least
56 inches wide, and 20 inches forward and aft, covered with a split flap
composed of two equal size rectangular panels. Each panel must be no less than
58 inches wide and may overlap each other no more than 15 inches. The panels may
only be sewn together along the leading edge of the cut. The edge of the panels
may extend no more than 24 inches past the posterior edge of grid, and may be
sewn down the entire length of the outside edge of each flap panel. To better
preserve the shape of the webbing panels over time, edge lines can be used
around the edges of the unattached portion of the flap panels to help maintain
the shape of the flap. Edge lines can only be used if the flap panels are sewn
down the entire length of the outside edge of each flap panel."
The reference to the edge lines, "Optional edge lines can be used in
conjunction with this flap. The line must be made of polyethylene with a maximum
diameter of 3/4 inches. A single length of line must be used for each flap
panel. The line must be sewn evenly to the unattached, inside edges and trailing
edges, of each flap panel. When edge lines are installed, the outside edge of
each flap panel must be attached along the entire length of the flap
MANAGING CRAPPIE HIGHS AND LOWS
Crappie are very important game fish in the United States. The two species,
black and white combined, ranked as the fourth most popular freshwater fish in
the country. Crappie are well-known to have "boom-and-bust" population
cycles in lakes and reservoirs. Research indicates that crappie will produce a
highly successful spawn (year class) once every 3 to 5 years. The year classes
in between are weak and contribute few fish to the harvestable population. Many
things seem to influence year class size, most of them beyond to ability of
biologists to influence.
some lakes, biologists have attempted to even out the effects of these
population swings by putting regulations in place to stretch out the harvest of
crappie from the big year classes. One such lake was Kentucky Lake, a 160
thousand-acre reservoir on the Kentucky/Tennessee border.
Before 1988, crappie were managed in the lake with a 60-fish limit and no
size restrictions. In 1988, the daily limit for crappie was reduced to 30
statewide, and in 1991, a 10-inch minimum size was put in place for the lake. It
was determined that Kentucky Lake crappie reached 10 inches long by the end of
their third growing season. The average size for crappie harvested in previous
years was 10.6 inches long.
Crappie populations in the lake were monitored before and after the minimum
size regulations were put into effect. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Resources biologists used trap nets from 1985 to 2000 to sample the population.
In 1998, a total of 998 crappie were tagged with $5 reward tags and released.
Finally, anglers were interviewed by biologists in 1984-87, 1991, and 1998.
The biologists found that even though strong year classes cycled through the
population from 1993 through 2000, the number of 10-inch and larger fish
collected in the trap nets stayed fairly high and didn't cycle as much. Survival
of crappie from age 1 to age 2 and from age 3 to age 4 increased significantly.
Survival from age 2 to age 3 increased, but by a lesser amount. After the
minimum size limit was put in place, the crappie population contained a higher
percentage of older fish.
Growth rates for both species sampled with trap nets showed a sight decline
after the 10-inch size was put in place. The regulation changes did not affect
the swings in year class success, which are most probably related to
environmental conditions. However, in Kentucky Lake the minimum length limit did
increase the number of adult crappie in the population and did smooth out the
harvest differences due to year class success. Minimum size regulations may not
work for crappie in many other areas. This is especially the case for crappie
populations with slow growth rates or high death rates.
Source: Response of the Crappie Population to Regulatory Changes in
Kentucky Lake, Kentucky: A Case History. Paul W. Rister. Proceedings of the
Fifty-fifth Annual Conference, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife
FLORIDA PROPOSES BIG CHANGES IN CRAB MANAGEMENT
If anything like the proposals that were heard at recent public hearings in
Florida go into effect, blue crab management there will make a dramatic change.
In 1998, the Florida Legislature, concerned about rapid growth and other
problems in the blue crab fishery, established a moratorium on the issuance of
new blue crab endorsements (licenses). After the moratorium expired in 2000, the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) extended it until July
1, 2005. Problems in the fishery included the seasonal crowding of traps in
confined water bodies, lost traps and bycatch, so many fishermen and traps that
fishermen were forced into part-time participation, licenses that were being
issued but not being used, conflict between local and outside crabbers, conflict
between soft crab and hard crab producers, and regional concerns about declining
In April 2002, FWC contracted the University of Florida Sea Grant College
Program to conduct a series of workshops to get fishermen's comments regarding
the important needs of the fishery The final report, received on March 25, 2003,
provided information about blue crab regulations in ten other Southeastern
states and summaries of the 16 workshops held in Florida between July 2002 and
In summer 2003, FWC put together an ad hoc Blue Crab Advisory Board
consisting of 15 crab harvesters and wholesale dealers and one voting member of
FWC. The 15 crab industry members were chosen from 43 applications that came in
as a result of letters sent to all license holders. With help from FWC staff and
the Florida State University Conflict Resolution Consortium, the Board's job was
to develop a fishery strategic plan which would manage fishing effort. Over the
course of 4 meetings (three of which lasted 2 days), the Blue Crab Advisory
Board came up with two plans.
The preferred plan would divide the fishery into two parts, hard crab
and soft crab. It would cap the number of permitted hard crab fishermen to those
who qualified by landing at least 500 pounds of hard crabs in any one year of
last 3 license years. Soft crabbers would qualify by landing at least 750 crabs
in any one year during the 3 years. The license fee for hard crabs would be
$125, and for soft crabs it would be $250. Each license includes $25 to use for
derelict crab trap clean-up. Hard crabbers would be limited to 600 traps and
soft crabbers to 400, with each getting an extra 50 traps for rotation. Each
trap would have to be tagged. After the moratorium ends, the licenses would be
transferable. In order to get into either fishery, a person would have to buy a
license and trap tags from someone leaving the fishery.
The alternative plan would create a trap certificate program. Both
hard and soft crab fishermen would have to qualify under the same rules as in
the preferred plan. License fees and limits would also be the same. All traps
would have individual tags/certificates. The number of fishermen under this plan
would not be capped, but the overall number of trap tags/certificates would be
capped at those numbers that exist after first qualification. After the
moratorium ends, commercial fishermen could buy certificates freely from those
who wish to sell them, and fish the traps for one year to qualify. In each sale
outside of those made to immediate family members, 10% of the certificates sold
would be retired.
Several recommendations apply to both plans, including:
- A first year trap tag fee of $1.00 per trap, and $.50 per tag every year
- Establishing an apprenticeship program for persons wanting to enter the
blue crab fishery. Such a person would have to work on an existing blue crab
vessel for two weeks to qualify them to buy into the fishery.
- Federal offshore waters would be a crab sanctuary.
- Short regional rotating closures would be made for trap clean-up projects.
- A 150-peeler bycatch in hard crab traps would be a allowed and no soft
shell license would be required for shedding operations with 1-3 tanks.
- A permanent Blue Crab Advisory Board would be established.
These recommendations are a first draft and likely will change, at least
partly, as a result of public input at workshops held in April, further analysis
of trip ticket data and FWC input.
RED SNAPPER FISHING QUOTA PROGRAM APPROVED
commercial fishermen have voted to approve the development of an individual
fishing quota (IFQ) system for the management of red snappers in the Gulf of
Mexico. The National Marine Fisheries Service mailed out ballots to 157 eligible
voters. Of these, 145 were returned and 104 (92%) voted in approval. The ballots
were "weighted" based on historical levels of par- ticipation. The 104
ballots provided 8,194,024 "yes" votes (81%) and 1,962,433
An IFQ system is a form of limited entry in which a total commercial fish
quota is divided into individual shares, usually based on historical landings by
the fishermen. With their IFQs, fishermen can fish and land their catch at the
time of the year that
works out best for them. IFQs are designed to replace the "derby
system" produced by the creation of an overall quota for a fishery and
allowing anyone with a license to fish. That system forces fishermen to race
with other fishermen to catch the fish before the overall quota is met. Because
of the mad rush, fishermen must often fish in dangerous weather conditions, the
quality of the fish landed may suffer because the emphasis is on catching large
quantities of fish quickly, and market prices decline because of gluts of fish
in the marketplace.
Based on the results of the vote, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management
Council has the authority to develop an IFQ plan as an amendment to the Reef
Fish Plan. After development, the plan must then again go back before the
eligible voters for approval. If it passes this vote, it will be submitted to
the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce for review, and approval or
disapproval. The secretary is not forced to enact the IFQ plan, even if both
votes approved it.
UNDERWATER OBSTRUCTION LOCATIONS
The Louisiana Fishermen's Gear Compensation Fund has asked that we print the
coordinates of sites for which damage has been claimed in the last two months.
The coordinates are list below.
& Long. Sites
& Long. Sites
THE GUMBO POT
Mama's Crawfish Bisque
Crawfish bisques are a lot of work. That is why my heart fell when Ms. Lucy
told me it was a must-try recipe from her cookbook Classic Cajun Culture &
Cooking. Ms. Lucy's cookbook is now in its eight printing since 1994. I met Lucy
Henry Zaunbrecher when she was dishing out wonderful Louisiana seafood gumbo
from the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board booth at the Boston
Seafood Show. I did end up trying the bisque and it was worth the work, so I
want to share it with you. To cut down on the work all at one time, I saved the
crawfish heads for stuffing from a boil, cleaned them, and froze them until I
was ready to cook the bisque. Be sure to remove the eyes with the rest of the
stuff from inside the shell.
||cleaned crawfish shells
||lb peeled crawfish meat, chopped
||cup cooking oil
||medium head of garlic, minced
||cup bell pepper, chopped
||lb peeled crawfish meat
||cup onion, chopped
||cup green onions, chopped
||slices of bread, ground
||tsp Louisiana hot sauce
||Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare stuffing, grind 1 pound of chopped crawfish meat with onions, bell
peppers, and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste, add ground bread to crawfish
mixture and mix thoroughly until firm in consistency (forms small balls in palm
of hand). To stuff the shells, take 1½ teaspoons of stuffing and pack firmly
into body shells until all the stuffing has been used. Set aside and allow to
set in refrigerator overnight, if possible.
To prepare the gravy, mix oil and flour in a heavy saucepan. Cook over a
medium high heat, stirring constantly until dark brown. Add 1 pint water slowly
and allow to slow boil for 30 minutes, until pretty thick. You can add more
water if necessary to make the gravy lighter, do not exceed one pint.
To prepare the finished product, add the stuffed crawfish bodies to the roux
gravy which is slowly boiling. Then add whole crawfish tails. Add the green
onion tops and season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Allow to cook
on a medium heat for thirty minutes. Boil or steam rice while bisque is cooking.
Serve in gumbo bowls over rice. Serves 4-5.
Jerald Horst Associate Professor, Fisheries