Larry Simns. Photo credit: Maryland Watermen's Association
We at EDF Oceans were saddened to hear that Larry Simns, founder and leader of the Maryland Watermen’s Association for 40 years, passed away last Thursday at the age of 75. We are certainly not alone, however, as Larry was admired and respected by a wide range of communities. His ability to transcend the line between industry and government entities allowed him to lead his organization to consensus on challenging issues facing the Chesapeake Bay and the fishing industry.
Thomas V. Grasso, our Senior Oceans Advisor, wrote the following when he heard of Larry’s passing:
I have been privileged and honored to have known Captain Larry Simns for 20 years. I first met him when I was living and working on the Chesapeake Bay. For the entire time I knew Larry, he was a true leader on issues that mattered for the Chesapeake Bay and the Watermen who rely on the health of the bay for their livelihoods. Larry was a creative problem solver, always looking for ways to advance both the business interests of watermen and the restoration of the bay. He saw these two things as being intimately linked to each other and I could not agree more. I learned a great deal from Larry and I know he will be missed on the Chesapeake Bay. We'll miss his common sense and thoughtfulness in the public debate on the Chesapeake. I will miss him as a person and for his keen insights, sense of humor and passion for the watermen’s way of life.
This is a sad moment for the Chesapeake Bay community, but we hope that those who admired him and drew inspiration from his work will carry on his spirit of determination for the hardworking watermen of the Chesapeake Bay.
While winter around the Chesapeake Bay is known for oysters and striped bass, summertime means blue crabs. If you enjoyed steamed crabs from Maryland this summer, you may have consumed crabs harvested by watermen involved in a ground-breaking test of technology to improve long-term blue crab management.
The Maryland Blue Crab Accountability Pilot program – a collaborative effort among commercial watermen called the Blue Crab Design Team, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and other partners – was designed to test electronic daily harvest reporting in order to gather more accurate and timely harvest information. From mid-July through the end of Maryland’s commercial crabbing season in mid-November, some 50 commercial crabbers, ranging in age from 25 – 75, tested the use of hand-held technologies like cell phones, smartphones and tablets, to report blue crab harvest daily.
Sustainable fisheries management requires sound science and accurate harvest and effort information. Current reporting relies on monthly paper reports and manual data entry that can take months to process. Daily electronic harvest reporting can improve the accuracy of harvest data, and result in real-time harvest information for in-season management decision-making. Read More »
When summer time rolls around on the Chesapeake Bay, watermen, tourists and locals alike start thinking about one thing: Blue Crabs. Will there be enough? How much will they cost? How long will the season last?
Past years have seen seasons cut short based on regulations that conservatively lower scientifically determined catch limits as a precautionary management measure, because real-time harvest data is limited. The process for counting how many crabs have been caught – and by whom – has been problematic, relying on a paper-based system that is time-consuming and too slow to allow meaningful adjustments to catch limits midseason. This year, both watermen and state officials agreed that a new system, using modern and faster technologies, was needed. Read More »