ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland officials say the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population is estimated to be at its lowest since an annual survey began in 1990.
The Department of Natural Resources’ annual winter dredge survey estimates that 227 million crabs are living in the nation’s largest estuary. That's down from 282 million in 2021.
The survey’s highest estimate for crabs in the bay was 852 million in 1993.
Officials say the abundance of adult crabs has steadily declined despite meeting management objectives.
The department says it will work with Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission on management measures for the 2022 crabbing season that address conservation needs.