|Press Releases | Search DNR | DNR Home|
Governor Martin O’Malley Statement On Federal Blue Crab Disaster Funding
Annapolis, Md. — Governor Martin O’Malley applauded and thanked the leadership of Maryland’s Congressional Delegation today for securing $10 million in federal fishery disaster funding for Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay for the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab industry.
“We are grateful to Senators Mikulski and Cardin, Leader Hoyer, Representative Ruppersberger, and our congressional delegation for their diligence and leadership in appropriating these dollars and working with the Department of Commerce for release of this critical funding for Maryland's iconic blue crab fishery. The funding offers a bridge to support the infrastructure of our hallmark blue crab fishery and helps ensure a stronger industry for the future.”
This federal funding supports our commitment to keep Maryland watermen working and protect the viability of the many local businesses that rely on blue crabs, while giving the species time to rebuild. It is only by working together -– through the collaboration of scientists in the fishing industry, along with federal and state governments – that we can ensure a sustainble future for two of the Chesapeake’s greatest icons, blue crabs and watermen, and this is exactly what we will continue to do. ”
The federal funding will be applied to watermen work projects including habitat restoration, fishery monitoring and retraining for industry diversification into aquaculture opportunities. The funding will also be used to restructure the fishery and improve its management to provide longer term predictability and market stability for the regional industry.
More than 100 watermen began oyster bar rehabilitation work in the Severn and Patuxent Rivers and Tangier Sound this week. Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly secured $3 million for this first stage of economic mitigation work projects for those impacted by the faltering blue crab population as part of the 2009 capital projects budget.
Earlier this year, the O’Malley-Brown Administration took historic action, in cooperation with Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, to rebuild the Chesapeake Bay’s beleaguered blue crab population by reducing the harvest of ecologically valuable female blue crabs by 34 percent in 2008. In September 2008, in response to a request from Governors O’Malley and Kaine, and advocacy by the Congressional Delegation, NOAA‘s National Marine Fisheries Service declared a federal fishery disaster for Chesapeake Bay watermen and women who have suffered economic hardships due to the extremely low and unstable blue crab abundance as well as the downturn in the national economy.
For more information about Maryland’s efforts to rebuild the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population visit http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrnews/infocus/blue_crab.asp.
November 18, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.