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Proceedings of the Senate, 1916
Volume 658, Page 243   View pdf image (33K)
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1916] OF THE SENATE. 243

Chairman Houston, of the Virginia Commission, made a
short address outlining the resolution passed by the Virginia
Legislature, and made a statement of the work that lay before
the joint commission as viewed by the Virginians. Chairman
Benson spoke in behalf of the Marylanders, thanking Virginia
for her invitation and outlining the views of his conferees.
He stated that Maryland wished to give Virginia an oppor-
tunity to perfect its fish laws, and, in fact, wanted both States
to adopt such legislation that would prevent Federal control
under the game law, it being construed by the United States
Government that it could control migratory fish as it does
birds. He declared that he believed in State's rights and that
they had come to hear what Virginia had to offer and would
endeavor to meet the proposition if possible. He closed by
saying that if Maryland and Virginia did not. settle upon prac-
tical legislation for conserving the sea-food productions, the
United States would unquestionably do so.

Senator Mapp stated that crabs and fish proper might
be regarded as migratory products of the Chesapeake and
moved that the matter of crabs be taken up in the morning
session and fish in the afternoon session, which was agreed to.

Hon. W. McDonald Lee, former Commissioner of Fisheries
of Virginia, was called upon and spoke at length upon the
habits and habitants of the Chesapeake and especially the blue
crab, dwelling upon the enormity of this business. He said
that the Chesapeake furnished 75 per cent, of the crabs of the
world, and that Crisfield, Maryland, which shipped almost
entirely Virginia crabs, furnished 60 per cent, of the out-put
in the United States. He declared crabs were diminishing and
while he heartily endorsed winter dredging, he stated that soft
crabs must be protected and suggested three plans: First, the
cull law, which Virginia already has. This requires that only
hard crabs 3 1/2 inches from tip to tip can be taken. Second,
protecting the sponge crab or gravid mother from scrapes and
trot lines., Third, preventing the doubles from being taken,
but this last, he declared, was absolutely impractical as there
was no way to enforce it. Quoting Dr. Prince, of Canada, he
said: "You cannot deplete the ocean, but you can deplete the
locality. " He went on to say that the mouth of the Chesapeake
was only eight miles wide and yet untold wealth poured in
through this source. The fish and crabs coming up the coast
tasted brackish water and came in the Bay. This occurs year
after year, and it was necessary for the Chesapeake to protect
the seafood migrating this way.


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Proceedings of the Senate, 1916
Volume 658, Page 243   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>

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