Income and harvest effects of alternative management policies on commercial crab potters in Virginia

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Virginia Tech

In recent years, the blue crab fishery has become the main source of income for Virginia's watermen. This fact, along with growing concerns of overharvesting and uncertainty about the amount of effort in the fishery, has led to calls for more complete data on the fishery. This study examined the characteristics of Virginia's blue crab fishery, through an extensive survey of crab pot license holders conducted on a monthly basis from March to November of 1992.

Along with a description of the people in the fishery, this study also modeled prices, harvest levels, and income levels for the blue crab industry. Because the models were interactive in nature, the effects of various fishery management strategies were also analyzed. The main emphasis of the policy simulations was to discover what impacts the different strategies had on harvest and income levels. The results of the simulations showed that many of the policies currently under consideration will have only a small impact on overall harvest and income levels, but there are some larger distributional effects among different firm classes. The findings of this study suggest that in order to gather accurate and useful data on the fishery, the random surveying techniques of this study should be continued over a period of years.