CBF: Annual Crab Survey Numbers Suggest Need to Maintain Regulations

(RICHMOND, VA)—Chris Moore, Senior Scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, issued this statement today following the release of the annual Winter Crab Dredge Survey in Maryland and Virginia:

"The results of the survey are a mixed bag, but they show a continuing positive trend overall for the health of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab. Spawning age female crabs are at record levels, a sign that the Bay-wide management plan is working, but juvenile crab numbers fell well below average, and adult males diminished.

"Generally watermen have reported good crab harvests thus far this spring, and we hope those numbers hold. Considering the results of the survey, the late summer and fall harvests might not be quite so robust.

"The crab population is affected year to year by weather and other factors. We can help by continuing to reduce pollution, and to restore crab habitat such as underwater grass beds where juvenile crabs find protection from predators.

"The low number of juveniles suggests we need to keep in place the suite of crab management regulations first agreed to in 2008 by Virginia and Maryland. We also must maintain federal funding for critical crab management programs, such as underwater grasses restoration."

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