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Volume 15, Issue 40 ~ October 4 - October 10, 2007

Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters – with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to editor@bayweekly.com. or submit your letters on line, click here


One Less Death by Plastic

Dear Bay Weekly:

I loved Carrie Madren’s story “Bag It” [Vol. xv, No. 37: Sept.13]. My boys and I saved a horseshoe crab from probable death as it struggled to free itself from a plastic store bag. The crab was tangled up along the shoreline at our community beach, and we had to cut it free. I can only imagine how many other wildlife deaths are occurring out there, and with turtles being my favorite animal, the story definitely touched home with me. I enjoyed reading the story and sharing it with my children.

–Michelle Bednarik, Chesapeake Beach

Maryland Seafood Depends on Guest Workers

Dear Bay Weekly:

Maryland’s seafood industry may be gone forever as of midnight Sept. 30, when the returning worker provision of the H-2B Guest Worker Program expired, thereby eliminating the majority of seasonal employees who have kept our family and the majority of Maryland seafood processors in business [The Whole Crab: Vol. xiii, No 39: Sept. 29, 2005].

The lapsed returning worker program was critical to small seasonal businesses around Maryland, including Maryland watermen. Many Maryland seafood companies will close permanently if the H-2B returning worker provision is not reinstated.

Picking houses, shucking houses, canneries and hospitality and landscape business will all suffer disproportionately without workers to fill slots that no locals wish to fill. This program does not rob Americans of jobs. Two and a half American jobs are retained for each and every H-2B temporary worker. At the end of the processing season these temporary workers return home, and most continue to return to the same employer every year, season after season.

Maryland’s seafood production is seasonal. This makes the work unattractive to local workers, who want full-time jobs. Local workers don’t need seasonal work, and don’t even apply.

Maryland’s processors produce the safest product in the world due to strict government inspection, plus an industry-sponsored quality control and inspection program. But these local companies compete with those importing crabmeat from all over the world, including Southeast Asia, Central and South America. Thus, if they miss one season of production and distribution, their niche markets will disappear forever. Buyers who want real Maryland crabmeat will be lost forever to the cheaper imports.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski has twice been successful in accomplishing passage of the Save Small Seasonal Business Act, both in 2005 and 2006. She has helped save hundreds of Maryland’s small businesses from failure while saving thousands of American jobs. She and the entire Maryland congressional delegation are again co-sponsoring the Save Small Seasonal Business Act of 2007 (S.988 and HR.1843)

–Jack Brooks, Cambridge: President, J.M. Clayton Company

Department of Corrections

Author, environmentalist and Chesapeake Country neighbor and notable Kent Mountford was misidentified in the Sept. 27 story “On the Job with Author and Anthropologist Helen Clark Rountree” (Vol. xv, No. 39).

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