Around the Chesapeake Bay, fishermen and seafood processors are gearing up for the 2011 season. Despite a serious winter kill, scientists believe that there will be good numbers of crabs for harvest this year.
The 2011 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey found that the Chesapeake Bay’s overall blue crab abundance has declined due to cold winter weather that killed as many as 31 percent of Maryland’s adult crabs.
According to the survey, 254 million adult crabs survived the bitter cold winter, with populations remaining above target for the third year in a row.
This is the first time since the early 1990s that the Bay has seen three consecutive years with the adult population was above the target (200 million crabs) and the harvest was below the target of 46 percent.
The primary assessment of the Bay’s blue crab population is conducted annually by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).