Save the Bay News: Blue Crabs Abroad, Osprey, and a Summer Vacation for Striped Bass


Osprey are an iconic symbol of summer in the Chesapeake Bay.

Michael Weiss

This month, we explore all the incredible wildlife our Chesapeake Bay has to offer, the threats these critters face, and what we can do to help

An oyster farmer in the south of France last summer spoke to the news about a marauding invasive species that he likened to “serial killers,” eating anything that swam or crawled. The species in question? Callinectes sapidus, the same Atlantic blue crab that is so beloved in the Chesapeake. It’s just another twist in the complicated saga of blue crabs. While the latest survey shows the crabs are still struggling in the Bay (despite this, Virginia regulators just this week opened the door to a controversial reopening of the winter crab harvest), they are becoming a menace in new waterways  from Maine to Croatia. They aren’t the only Chesapeake Bay species causing concern. Ospreys are in trouble, reaching their lowest level in parts of the Bay region since the DDT era, a decline thought to be linked to a lack of menhaden. Striped bass are also feeling the heat—a problem anglers can help solve by targeting other fish species during the hot summer months. And in Pennsylvania, blue catfish pose a conundrum as managers in the western part of the state seek to restore the species in its native range, while preventing an invasion in the Susquehanna. Also, this month, we cover the marvelous world of macroinvertebrates, the latest dead zone forecast, the likelihood of meeting the 2025 goals for oyster restoration, and more.

A prized blue crab near Port Isobel Island, Virginia.

Morgan Jones/CBF Staff

Bonjour Blue Crabs

Concerns remain about the overall decline in blue crabs after the annual survey of the population in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries was released late last month. But while the survey showed numbers remain low here, this iconic Bay species is showing up in wildly unexpected places across the globe—including France, Croatia, and Maine.


Striped bass.

Striped bass, also know as rockfish.

Joan Smedinghoff/Chesapeake Bay Program

A Summer Vacation for Striped Bass

Recent years have seen troubling trends for striped bass. While there are many reasons, the most immediate way to help the fish is by changing fishing habits, argues CBF Maryland Executive Director Allison Colden. That means giving stripers a summer break, especially when hot days make the fish more likely to die after being caught and released.


Man stands on shore of river holding a net full of small fish.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Fish Culturist Andy Severns prepares to stock blue catfish fingerlings into the Ohio River near Point State Park in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Blue Catfish Conundrum

Invasive blue catfish, an opportunistic predator, continue to eat the Chesapeake Bay alive—feeding on valuable species like menhaden, striped bass, eel, shad, river herring, and blue crabs. But in western Pennsylvania, where blue catfish are native to the Ohio River Basin, the fish are seen as a prized opportunity for anglers, and reintroduction plans are underway.


Students wearing hipwaders stand in a stream, examining items in a sieve.

Students participating in a CBF Education program disturb the streambed with their feet to capture macros, which flow into strainers.

BJ Small/CBF Staff

Marvelous Macros

Below the surface of our rivers and streams is a bug’s world that is trying to tell us something. Macroinvertebrates, or “macros”—with catchy names like hellgrammite, dragonfly, and water penny beetle—play many important roles within the aquatic ecosystem. They are also incredibly sensitive to human-influenced changes, making them an important indicator of water quality and overall stream health.


An osprey carries a freshly caught menhaden, a prime food source for many birds and larger fish in the Chesapeake Bay.


The Osprey Garden at Risk

In the 1960s and ‘70s, osprey almost entirely disappeared from the Bay region due to the insecticide DDT. Now, in one part of the Bay, osprey have dropped to even lower levels than the DDT era. The suspected culprit this time around? The lack of menhaden—a foundational fish that is critical food for a number of important species.

In the News

What You Can Do

  • More than 3,000 species of plants and animals call the Chesapeake home. Join us in pledging to restore and protect the Bay's iconic wildlife such as blue crabs, oysters, mussels, and Atlantic menhaden.
  • Save the Bay in style this summer! Shop the CBF Store for all your summer essentials, from beach towels to bucket hats and more.
  • Match Expiring: Your gift to save the Bay is now worth TRIPLE thanks to a generous matching gift from our friends at The Orokawa Foundation—but only through midnight June 30! Give today and your donation will go three times as far.


The views and opinions expressed in the media or articles on this site are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by CBF and the inclusion of such information does not imply endorsement by CBF. CBF is not responsible for the contents of any linked Website, or any link contained in a linked Website, or any changes or updates to such Websites. The inclusion of any link is provided only for information purposes.

Support the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

Donate Today


Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or advocating for a clean Bay, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

This website uses cookies to tailor and enhance your online experience. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, including details on how to disable cookies, please visit our Privacy Policy. Close