Survey: Plentiful Adult Female Blue Crabs in Chesapeake Bay - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Survey: Plentiful Adult Female Blue Crabs in Chesapeake Bay

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(Photo: Maryland DNR) (Photo: Maryland DNR)

HAMPTON, Va. (AP/WBOC)- An annual survey has found a record-high number of spawning-age female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay and predicts another year of improved harvests.
    
The results of the 2017 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Maryland Department of Natural Resources were released Wednesday.
    
They show the total population of blue crabs fell this year by 18 percent. But the female spawning stock was the highest ever recorded in the 28-year history of the baywide survey.

“Despite the modest number of young crabs, the total population remains stable and the number of spawning age females – a major scientific benchmark for the health of the species – rose,” Maryland DNR Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “This is testament to the state’s adaptive and effective management of the fishery.”
    
Virginia Marina Resources Commissioner John M.R. Bull added that the stock is in "pretty good shape" overall and this year's harvest should be substantial.
    
In 2014, the number of female crabs was so low a harvest reduction was enacted. According to the commission, overall crab abundance has increased by 53 percent since then and the bay-wide commercial crab harvest is up 71 percent.

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