A fisherman in Crystal River made quite the catch this week. Turns out one of his blue crabs had traveled to our area all the way from Maryland! Experts say that's very unusual. It’s certainly not something Thomas Cochran with TJE Seafood expected to find while taking in his normal harvest from King's Bay. "I was looking around like, is this a joke or is this something that's all over or is this one of a kind?” he explained. He noticed the pink tag on the crab and called the number listed. Turns out the crab had been tagged by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in the Chesapeake Bay, and over the course of several years made his way into the gulf and then into King's Bay.
A scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center told us this is the furthest a blue crab has traveled since they started tagging them. "We've tagged a number of crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. Some of them get captured as far south as North Carolina," Robert Aguilar, a biologist at the center, said. Agular said it was also an unusual catch because it was a male crab. "Unlike the females, they don't have a directed migration, and also males in theory should continue to molt, to continue to grow, so when they molt they shed their exoskeleton and in theory they will then shed any tag that is attached to the carapace." . . . Aguilar said they've tagged about 50,000 crabs over the last 15 years.I hope he got more than the standard $5 reward for that crab.