Although the Chesapeake’s iconic blue crabs have shown steady improvement since a low point in 2014, the 2017 winter dredge survey produced a mixed bag: a record number of adult females, but low juvenile abundance that has led to reduced catches in the fall and likely points to a tough spring for the fishery in 2018. We hope that 2017’s stronger spawning stock of mature females will produce a population increase that provides brighter economic futures to Bayside communities dependent on crabs, like Smith and Tangier Islands.
Stability for the Bay's blue crab population has been limited by degraded habitat, in particular underwater grass bed coverage, which is fortunately beginning to show signs of improvement. Blue crabs need grass beds for nursery areas and protection from predators. New management approaches also need to be explored. Despite the good news, the crab population has not reached its target level, a fact that emphasizes the need to stay the course with science-based limits. This iconic symbol of the Chesapeake is resilient, but our appetite for it—in all forms—demands caution and restraint lest we love it to death.
More About Blue Crabs
06 Jun 2017 Episode 57 | 0:19:22
In this episode, CBF President Will Baker sits down with longtime CBF staffer Bart Jaeger to talk about the relationship between underwater grasses and the Bay’s blue crab population.
05 Jun 2017
This bushel basket washed ashore on a beach in Kent Island from the Chesapeake Bay. We're thankful for the hardworking men and women who work on the water to provide the best local seafood.
20 Apr 2017 Facebook Live 00:04:12
We're live with CBF's Senior Scientist Chris Moore discussing the latest blue crab numbers!
February 12, 2018
(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued this statement following the release of the Fiscal Year 2019 Trump Administration budget, which reduced funding for EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program by 90 percent.
February 9, 2018
At the dawn of every new year, shortly after the ball drops and the confetti is swept away, our Bay saving efforts kick into another gear. With the new year comes the start of legislative sessions in Maryland and Virginia, and its continuation in Pennsylvania.
January 26, 2018