Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the right price, Maryland wants to buy back 2,000 licenses, in an effort to sustain a healthy crab population.
|Photo illustration by fishfoot, available under a Creative Commons license.|
This year has been the first year since 1994 that Maryland's blue crab population has been above a target level of 200 million. Yet the state wants to take additional action to maintain the sustainability of the crab population. The state's Department of Natural Resources claims that there are thousands of inactive crabbing licenses -- in which license holders that reported no harvests between 2004 and 2008. If those licenses become active in the future, it could cause a potential overfishing problem. Instead of freezing inactive licenses, a very unpopular plan that citizens complained about at earlier open houses, Maryland's DNR is offering to buy back limited crab catcher licenses (LCCs), with a goal of buying back 2,000 of the almost 3,700 licenses. LCC license holders have until July 31 to submit a bid by mail. Then DNR will set a maximum price, accepting the lowest bids first until the undisclosed budget (funded by Federal Blue Crab Disaster Funds) is depleted and/or the maximum price is met. License holders will be notified by August 15 if their bids are accepted. If license holders decide to not submit a bid or DNR doesn't accept a bid because it is too high, license holders can renew for the next year, but inactive license holders will be privy to new regulations for the 2010 crabbing season.