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Protect our rivers and the crabs in them
Letters to the Editor
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There has been lots of controversy and opposition to the treatment facility on the east end. Jimmy Smith made a couple of points in his recent letter to the editor. However one point needs clarification.
He wrote, “The crab fisherman in those times landed tons daily, whereas today he hopes for hundreds of pounds.”
The “days” he mentioned were not that long ago when the crabbers would take everything that was unfortunate enough to be in their traps. This included illegal undersized males and females, peeler crabs. Egg-bearing crabs (sponge crabs) and, yes, even a couple legal crabs.
These crabs all went to the picking house where they were dumped by the barrels —  full at a time — into huge steam vats. After steaming, the legal crabs were separated from “the trash crabs,” which were often sold for hog feed, and the legal crabs were picked for their meat.
After much opposition from some of the crabbers, stricter conservation measures were enacted and enforced. These included cull rings in the traps to let the illegal small crabs escape the steam vat; stricter enforcement of minimum size laws (5 inches) by DNR of illegal crabs in crabbers boats and stores; limiting the number of traps to 200/crab license; capping the number of commercial crab licenses issued annually; and, most recently, a ban on sponge crabs, which protects future generations of crabs.
Sadly or not, the last picking house in Georgia closed several years ago. Today, those couple hundreds of pounds are, for the most part, legal crabs, although DNR all too often still tickets folks for illegal crabs. Are there thousands of pounds still in our rivers? You betcha.
Let’s not pollute them. God doesn’t need no help.

Bruce A. McCartney
Trade Hill Community
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