Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Abundance

According to a recent study, Chesapeake Bay blue crab harvests could be down in 2013. The latest Chesapeake Bay winter dredge survey, overall abundance of blue crabs dropped from 765 million to 300 million crabs.

Juvenile crab counts fell from 581 million to 111 million. The female population was estimated at 147 million, well above the minimum established threshold of 70 million.

Poor reproduction in 2013 and high mortality among 2012 year-class crabs may have led to the decline of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) said to be drafting new regulations that will reduce the harvest of female crabs by approximately 10 percent in response to the decline.

The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey samples blue crab numbers at 1,500 sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Virginia Marine Resources Commission