Blue crab numbers climbed slightly this year from a near-catastrophic low
For the second straight year, a harsh winter killed more than a quarter of adult blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.Damn that
But a baywide survey of the crab population released Monday said there was encouraging news in spite of the blow. The overall population of the beleaguered crustacean climbed modestly from a catastrophic low last year.
The yearly winter dredge survey conducted by Virginia and Maryland marine scientists estimates that 411 million crabs are in the main stem of the bay and its tributaries, a 38 percent increase from last year’s critically low population.
Officials at Virginia’s Marine Resources Commission greeted the news as a positive sign but said it’s probably not enough to lift strict limits on the numbers of blue crabs that can be commercially fished.How about not catching as many? Fear not all you crab eaters in Maryland and Virginia, the south, South America and Viet Nam are willing to send you theirs.
“This is a step in the right direction, but we are not out of the woods,” said Virginia Marine Resources Commissioner John M.R. Bull. Calling the gains modest, Bull said the state will continue to cautiously manage its crab stock. “More work needs to be done to boost us above modest abundance levels.”