Check out this news in the Washington Post: "‘Ghosts' haunt creatures on bay's bottom". This is a federally-funded program to find and remove the ghost crab pots that have come adrift from their float markers.
In the picture, I'm holding a part of a crab-pot float marker. I may have found (or created) a ghost pot. It was a scary process that (I thought) had done serious damage to Red Ranger. It certainly could sunk a boat that wasn't as over-engineered. (Yes, sunk. Line wrapped around the propellor can can lead to engine failure or it can even damage the propellor shaft coupling leading to a large hole in the bottom when the shaft falls out.)
Call me a Liberal if you want. But I'm all for a tax-and-spend big government program that isn't described in the constitution when it cleans up the bay. Paying watermen to retrieve ghost pots is a great federal program. It keeps watermen employed in the off-season.
I'm for big government restrictions on crabbing when it improves the harvest. Yes, the price of crabcakes may rise.
I'm not, however, in favor of the current level of regulation of "point source pollution" from recreational boaters. The nonpoint-source agricultural runoff is the single biggest global pollution problem. And it's largely unregulated. See the EPA's Nonpoint Source Fact Sheets for the disturbingly large impact of agricultural runoff.
We need to elevate control of agricultural runoff from a bunch of suggestions to actual laws.
And we also need to continue the program to pay for pulling up ghost pots. Those of us in Virginia need to lobby for continuation of the Blue Crab Fishery Resource Disaster Relief Plan, which may mean getting our congress-critters to continue funding of this program. Or to shift funding to an ongoing source of revenue. Right now, Blue Crab catch (alone) is something like a $56M business. The stone-stupid "No New Taxes" ideology would lead to a $15M cleanup raising the price of crabcakes by 30%. But crabcakes sales aren't the only beneficiaries of bay cleanup. The whole point of taxes is to spread the cost because the value is not narrowly focused.
Bay cleanup helps everyone from watermen to consumers to vacationers to random farmers clear across the country who sell corn to eat with crabs. Some people are helped more than others.
The funding is documented here on the NOAA fisheries site documenting funding for Virginia. We need more of this kind of pragmatism and less silly ideological posturing.