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A solution to the problem of declining seafood populations in the southern Maryland area.

The populations of aquatic organisms used as a food source in the southern Maryland area are declining. They have been severely affected by overharvesting and pollution in recent years. There may be still time to reverse these negative effects. The ways that may be able to save the Bay area is to make new laws and promote awareness. In addition, the government needs to work with waterman to ensure that harmful harvesting techniques are not continued. The first way of helping to restore the bay is for the government to create new laws that regulate the use of certain techniques and tools used in the harvesting of crustaceans and shellfish. Common practices among waterman are to use power dredging and patent tonging (Hlad 1). “The Maryland, soft clam or hanks type hydraulic escalator harvester consist of a water pump supplying a manifold with numerous water jets mounted in front of a conveyor belt that dislodges buried organisms from the sediment. The vessels are generally in the range of 30’ to 50’ in length. Substrate and overburden containing clams are broken up by a cutting blade and eroded by the water jets as clams are washed onto the upward moving conveyor. Water jets often penetrate sediments to depths > 18” at high pressure creating a “trench” or “furrow”. The conveyor brings clams and oysters shells to the surface, where two or three crewmembers cull shellfish from the bottom material (Coen 4).” This practice has the potential to disturb a very important balance in the ecosystem. “This dredging is known to have harmful effects on the water wildlife by stripping the river floor. From most of the studies, one could conclude that the major effect of mechanical harvesting is the potential over-exploitation of the bivalve resource (Coen 1).” A law that is coming into effect that would be a step closer to a solution is Governor O’Malley’s new plan. It will pave the way to stop power dredging and patent tonging (Hlad 1). Another point in this proposed plan was that it would “Significantly increase Maryland’s network of oyster sanctuaries — from 9% to 24% of remaining quality habitat — as well as the State’s ability to enforce them. Sanctuaries allow oysters to live longer, spawn without harvest pressure, and, over time, develop natural resistance to disease. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is also undertaking a number of enforcement reforms, including a collaborative effort with federal partners to install a network of radars and cameras that will help Natural Resources Police monitor oyster sanctuaries and prevent poaching (Governor 1).” The public needs to know more about what is happening to the bay. If the public were more informed, they would be able to influence the way the government makes laws concerning the environment. The environmental groups could publish fliers and put out commercials. These could educate the public. A place that the public should know about is www.maryland.dnr.com. This website contains many useful facts and information for the public to read. It will educate and inform them so they will see what is going on in the environment. Finally, the government can reach out to the waterman. ‘‘If we are to save Maryland’s blue crab population, we must act now.” O’Malley said, ‘‘…and through this action will continue to work together and with our watermen and blue crab industries to help them move toward a stronger and more sustainable future (Yeatman 1).” The government can enact programs to give watermen an incentive to support the change in laws. “The Government, along with the program to help revive populations of aquatic organisms, enacted programs to compensate the watermen for lost wages. Watermen facing a state-mandated reduction in female crab harvests could receive disaster relief funding from the federal government (Yeatman 1). With the government

In addition. the government needs to work with waterman to ensure that harmful harvesting techniques are not continued. The way some see it.reaching out the Watermen are beginning to realize that they have to be part of the effort to restore the Bay.” The populations of aquatic organisms used as a food source in the southern Maryland area are declining. Works Cited . “It's an anxious summer for watermen harvesting the Chesapeake's best-loved seafood. It's already dead (Wyatt 1). the crabbing business here isn't just dying. Maryland may be able to save the Bay area by making new laws and promoting awareness. There may be still time to reverse these negative effects. They have been severely affected by overharvesting and pollution in recent years. In the long run it will allow them to keep their families provided for. even if they have to make cuts right now. the blue crab.

2 Nov. N. Web. N. N.p. N. Loren D. n. <http://www. Governor O’Malley Proposes Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan.” www.maryland. “Watermen Fight to Protect Oyster Harvesting Techniques.com/‌stories/‌02272009/‌entemor110401_32234.d.pdf>. Yeatman..com///‌/‌. n.. Office of Governor Martin O’Malley. 2 Nov.. “A Review of the Potential Impacts of Mechanical Harvesting on. Jesse. JENNIFER.d. 2010. Web. Web.sc.” Southern Maryland Online.” SoMDNews.p.HLAD. Governor. 2010.com.shtml>. . 2010. 2010.com.gov////.shtml>.d. 1 Nov. 2010.dnr.. <http://www.somdnews.dnr. “State asks for crab emergency. <http://somd. n.p.p. 1 Oct. Web. Coen.