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May 2, 2003     Cape Gazette
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May 2, 2003
 

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22 - CAPE CzAZEaWE, Friday, May 2 - May 8, 2003 Crabs Continued from page 1 great decline in the number of crabs out there. Granted, a lot of it is anectodal-information, but we do believe there used to be a!ot more horseshoe crabs. We believe the current population is not now declining. It is stable, but very low." Alexander said unusually cold winter weather conditions had so far kept the horseshoe crabs from moving into Delaware Bay to lay eggs. "Very few crabs have been caught by commercial watermen since January. Many environmen- hal groups say we should close the harvesting completely this year so the red knot shorebirds will have plenty to eat. We did not see the need for that. But May is boom or bust month with the horseshoe crabs arriving to lay eggs and the red knots arriving to feed on them. We wanted to protect the resource." Willard argued that the state's emergency-order regulations set- ting a five-week moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crabs at the height of crab harvesting and decreasing the total crab quota for 2003 from 361,000 crabs to 150,000 was legally unfounded. "DNREC relies on Title 29, Section 10119 to impose the emergency regulations," argued Willard. "Section 10119 requires 'immiment peril to the public' health, safety or welfare' which does not exist." As for DNREC establishing the emergency-order regulations, Willard argued that Title 7, Section 2701(d) of Delaware Code "requires actual or eminent threat to the horseshoe crab resources and fishery thereof, which does not exist." DNREC relies on the recent weight loss of the red knot shore- birds that feed on the horseshoe crab eggs as a reason for the clo- sure, argued Willard. He noted that birds, however, have been arriving late and several different factors may point to their weight loss. The problem, Willard noted, is that "Title 7, Section 2701(d) does not delegate administrative authority' to protection of shore- birds ." Willard argued that if the emer- gency order were not restrained it would "cause those in the fish- cries business to suffer immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage evidenced by severe financial and economic loss." He also argued that evidence support- ing a decline in the horseshoe crab population is "unsettled and not indicative of an actual or eminent threat." Judge Chandler agreed with Willard's arguments and ruled: "DNREC is hereby restrained from implementing the April 25 horseshoe crab emergency regula- tions for at least 90 days, effective 5 p.m., April 30." Waterman Charles Auman hailed the ruling as he read Chandler's order on his Mispillion inlet boat dock, April 30. He also Fuqua and Yod photo Attorney Tim Willard, an associate with Fuqua and Yori law firm in Georgetown, listened for an hour to commercial wa- termen's appeal forjustlce in the horseshoe crab moratorium issue and agreed to take their case. He successfully won a Chancery Court restraining order to halt the moratorium or- der. I am very honored to represent the Delaware water- men," W'fllard said. ley are hard-working and honest entre- preneurs, n slammed the environmental lob- bies which pressured Delaware to issue the emergency closure, state regulators for imposing the clo- sure without good factual basis and the governor for not heeding her advisory council,s unanimous opposition to the state's order. Enviornmental bullies "I feel the state gave in to pres- sure from Audubon Society mem- bers, who threatened this winter to sue the state in order to protect red knots," he said. "I could see that emergency order coming way back when Audubon Society members held a press conference in front of DNREC headquarters. They were putting pressure on the state. After the press Conference, they met with DNREC Secretary John Hughes. I knew then that we were going to be dumped on again," Aumansaid a Feb. 11 public meeting of watermen at DNREC headquarters in Dover was billed as an open discussion on a possi- ble moratorium on horseshoe crab harvesting. He said no hard evi- dence was presented at the meet- ing that supported such a morato- rium, and the state was not inter- ested in what watermen had to say on the matter. "DNREC already had their mind made up when they held that meeting," Auman said. "They were unable to connect the declin- ing red knot populations to horse- shoe crab populations, and they didn't seem one bit interested in any dialogue with us watermen as to the issues:Tbey knew they they had cut our annual crab limits every year since 1998, and they knew they were going to do it again ." The real problem, according to Auman and waterman Albert Adams who also works out of Mispillion Inlet, is that the state opted to cave into the Audubon Society pressure rather than work with the watermen and the Governor's Advisory Council on Shellfisheries, which opposed any moratorium. ''To me, the Audubon Society are just a bunch of environmental bullies," said Auman. ''They're real willing to push us watermen around, and it seems they want to push the state around, too. "We watermen have taken state cuts on our horseshoe crab harvest every year since 1998. DNREC promised us each year that once the horseshoe crab population quit declining, so would the annual limits," Auman said. "Now they say the population is not in decline, it is steady. But they still put a 50-percent reduction on our annual limit this year. They lied to us all along, and they never had any hard data - no facts - to sup- port what they've been doing. They just didn't want the Audubon Society to sue them, so they continued to dump on us watermen. They figured we weren't smart enough to fight back. They figured we had no voice and couldn't fight them, but they were wrong. Tim Willard lis- tened to our case for an hour and agreed we were being treated unjustly. He agreed to represent us, and we really appreciate that." Late Obituaries Upset advisory council Adams, who serves on the Governor's Advisory Council with Auman, said he knows the science is not there to support the DNREC order. He said he and advisory council chairman Allen Davis tried to meet with Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to tell her the council did not support the planned emergency order, but the governor did not meet with them. "She passed a message to us through her staff that she does not get involved in state agency poli- cy-making," said Adams. "That's what we were told. Now if the governor doesn't have time or doesn't care enough to listen to her own advisory council's opin- ion, why does she even have an advisory council? It sure makes me want to resign; from it all. Watermen have bee n getting a real bad rap that we don't deserve. We are not stupid pillagers of the earth's resources. We're the first ones to support maintaining the resources. It's our livlihood." Davis; a Georgetown attorney, said he feels DNREC was "react- ing inappropriately" with its emergency order. "Our advisory council has the latest information that trawl sur- veys indicate there are 11 million crabs in this area," said Davis. "Not only is the population not in decline, but it is not as low as DNREC has said it is. The way I see it, this was a David versus Goliath case right off the bat. The state, with all its power, has been fighting with the 100 families who make their living as commer- cial watermen. Commercial watermen have historically had very little political clout. They were an easy target, and the state has acted as if they knew that. I worked diligently to convince the state not to do this emergency order." Allen said he still wants to meet one-on-one with Minner about the issue, and hopes he gets the chance to do that. "She appointed me to chair the council two years ago and work on these types of issues," be said. "I'm very disheartened that she has not listened to our unanimous opposi- tion to what DNREC was propos- ing. She should have met with US." Allen said he knows advisory Council members are talking about resigning from their unpaid positions, and he understands why. "If we are there to be lis- tened to, why wasn't somebody listening," he asked. Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, Ruddell Sylvester Ward, Five Points Inn bartender Ruddell Sylvester "Snooge" Ward of Lewes died Monday, April 28, 2003, in his home. He was 74. He was born June 12, 1928, in the Coolspring area, son of the late Ossieola Perry and Ruddell Ward. He worked for A.P. Croll Construction, George- town, and Shore Lumber Co., and retired from bartending at the for- mer Five Points Inn Tavern in 1987. He is survived by his wife, Marcelia H. Ward of Georgetown; two daughters and a son-in-law, Amelia and James Frazer and Yvonne White, all of Rehoboth Beach; six sons and four daugh- ters-in-law, Wayne and Ritsue Nagodne of Rehoboth Beach Paris Rodney White of Lewes, Marvin and Debbie White of Seaford, William and Martha White of Felton, Carl White of Lewes and Thomas and Pamela White of Bridgeville; three broth- ers and sisters-in-law, Thomas and Maggie Hood of CoatesViUe, Pa., Bradford and Katherine Perry of Dover and Ronald and Evelyn Waples of Dagsboro; a sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and Harold Harmon of Dover; 27 grandchib dren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Friends may call from 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 2 at Burton Chapel African Methodisf Episcopal Church, Hudson Road, Milton. Services will be at 1 p.m., Sat- urday, May 3 in the church. The Rev. Charlotte A. White will offi- said he listened to the state's arguments for a moratorium dur- ing May and a 50-percent reduc- tion in the harvest limit this year and he found the state lacking in facts to support the need. "I've met with the state. I've met with the watermen," said Simpson. "I agree with the water- men. There was no evidence of need for the DNREC order. The red knot problem is beyond our control, and I just didn't see the need for the order." The federal Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which endorsed cuts in horseshoe crab harvests in 1999, saw no need to impose or recommend further cuts in the horseshoe crab harvest this year. No other state on the East Coast has seen a need to reduce its watermen's harvest to protect crab populations. Yet Delaware and New Jersey have discussed it since February, and Delaware ordered it April 25. Where does New Jersey Stand on the issue, and why are water- men there fighting any state effort, to limit horseshoe crab takes this year? The finger points through the Audubon Society, says New Jersey waterman Fred Layton, and directly at what he calls "environ- mentally harmful practices" at Salem nuclear power plant. Those issues will be explored by the Cape Gazette next week. ciate. Burial will be in People's Memorial Park. Vincent Barba, Vincent Barba, Wilmington native Vincent Barba, 65, of New Cas- tle, passed away Tuesday, April 29, 2003 after a long battle with cancJr. He was born in Wilmington on November 5, 1937 to the late An- thony and Mary (Gioffre) Barba. He was a self-employed barber in this area for more than 40 years, retiring in 1999. He was a very talented musician and in his younger years played the guitar with several local bands. In recent years, Mr. Barba enjoyed karaoke and made many friends in doing such. He also enjoyed gardening. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Frank. Mr. Barba is survived by his brothers, Tom, Joe and his wife, Joan and John and his com- panion, Lorraine Mekulski, all of Wilmington, and Dominick of Deerfield, FL; his sisters, Theresa Barcola and her husband, Tony of Rehoboth Beach and Carmella Caruso and her husband, Art of Wilmington; his sister-in-law, Clara Barba of Wilmington; and several nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held at the Charles P. Arcaro Funeral Home, 2309 Lancaster Ave., (op- posite Cathedral Cemetery) at noon on Friday, May 2. Family and friends may call after 10:30 a.m. Interment will be held pri- vately.