Blue crab population grows, but fails to meet target levels

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 15:23:06-04

Fresh Blue Crabs

Blue crab population numbers have increased for the second year in a row, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

In order to ensure a healthy future for Chesapeake Bay crabs, the population of female crabs needs to grow further.

In the report, data was collected in the Bay-wide winter drudge survey and on annual estimates of blue crab harvests.

The findings from this year state that blue crabs are doing well and aren’t being over-fished. The total population of the crabs increased from just over 400 million in 2015 to over 550 million in 2016.

The number of female crabs has increased, and the number of juvenile crabs is about the same.

In addition to encouraging all three jurisdictions to maintain a risk-averse, adaptive approach to management, as well as tracking harvest and population numbers relative to the female-specific reference points, the report suggests that Virginia, Maryland, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission continue their efforts to improve the quality of their catch and effort information submitted by both commercial and recreational crabbers.