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Electronic crab reporting gaining interest

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland crabbing industry officials say electronic harvest reporting is catching on.

Maryland’s Blue Crab Industry Design Team says almost 270 commercial crabbers and crab dealers have expressed interest in participating in the electronic reporting program for the 2013 crabbing season, which starts on April 1.

Fifty watermen used mobile devices last season to report their catch. Organizers say that eliminates the need for costly printing and processing of paper reports and improve management of the fishery.

The Design Team is a partnership of commercial watermen, the Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Maryland Watermen’s Association.

Organizers say commercial crabbers can sign up anytime for the program. Participants are not required to submit monthly paper reports and can choose their day off on a weekly basis.