Survey Finds Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Healthy - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Survey Finds Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Healthy

Posted: May 09, 2018 10:27 AM Updated:
(Photo: Maryland DNR) (Photo: Maryland DNR)

ANNAPOLIS, Md.- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday released the results of the 2018 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which shows that the population of blue crabs remains healthy and sustainable.

DNR said that while this year’s cold weather and ice cover took a toll on the adult crab population, causing an estimated 35 percent mortality of adult females wintering in state waters, the number of young crabs that returned to Chesapeake Bay this year increased 34 percent. Blue crabs spend the first part of their lives in the Atlantic Ocean before returning to the bay to grow and mature.

“Despite the cold, hard winter, which extended well into the spring, the blue crab population remains healthy, resilient and sustainable,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “Even with the erratic weather, which included snow in April,  the blue crab population remains well within parameters, showing that the state and our partners are managing the species well.”

The survey indicates a bay-wide crab population of 371 million, a decrease from last year’s estimate of 455 million, driven largely by a decrease in the number of adult crabs. In 2018, the spawning female stock decreased 42 percent from 254 to 147 million, dropping below the target level of 215 million, but remaining well above safe levels. This year’s adult female abundance remains among the 10 highest of the nearly three decade old survey. Adult male crab abundance declined 23 percent from 76 to 59 million. The survey showed juvenile crab population increased 34 percent over last year, reaching 167 million.

“Although the number of spawning-age females is down from last year, we are pleased to see that their abundance is well above the minimum safe number even with the winter weather and lackluster reproduction last year,” Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee Chair Glenn Davis said. “Last year we had very few young crabs entering the bay. Those juveniles grew through 2017 and endured this year’s cold winter to become the 2018 class of spawning adults.”

DNR said the decline in numbers of adult crabs in the bay may lead to a slow start to the early harvest season, but as young crabs enter the fishery and increase their abundance in midsummer, Maryland may see an improved late season. The 2017 bay-wide crab harvest decreased slightly in 2017, from 60 to 54 million pounds, but continued to operate at sustainable levels, especially for female crabs.

“This year’s results give us optimism that our management approach is effective at conserving adequate numbers of crabs even when the number of juveniles is low and winter mortality is high,” Maryland Fishing and Boating Services Director David Blazer said. “We will continue our conversations with industry and partners throughout the season to ensure a successful and sustainable harvest.”

The Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee plans to release a full analysis this summer.

The annual Winter Dredge Survey has been conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Virginia Institute of Marine Science since 1990. In the survey, biologists use dredge equipment to capture, measure, record and release blue crabs at 1,500 sites throughout Chesapeake Bay from December through March.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • NEW DETAILS: Parkside High School Student Arrested for Assaulting 14-Year-Old in School Guidance Office

    Parkside High School Student Arrested for Assaulting 14-Year-Old During School Hours

    May 21, 2018 7:52 PM2018-05-21 23:52:00 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 3:52 AM EDT2018-05-23 07:52:14 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md.- Court documents say the Parkside High School student arrested Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student during school hours did so in a school guidance office room.More
    SALISBURY, Md.- Court documents say the Parkside High School student arrested Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student during school hours did so in a school guidance office room.More
  • Scientists Battle Mosquitoes with Tiny "Copepods"

    Scientists Battle Mosquitoes with Tiny "Copepods"

    May 22, 2018 6:46 PM2018-05-22 22:46:00 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 6:46 PM EDT2018-05-22 22:46:33 GMT
    With plenty of rain on Delmarva, there are plenty of mosquitoes. Scientists at Horn Point Lab in Cambridge say they may have one thing up their sleeve to stop them.More
    With plenty of rain on Delmarva, there are plenty of mosquitoes. Scientists at Horn Point Lab in Cambridge say they may have one thing up their sleeve to stop them.More
  • Arrests Made in Salisbury Armored Truck Robbery

    Arrests Made In Salisbury Armored Truck Robbery

    May 22, 2018 12:57 PM2018-05-22 16:57:00 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 6:23 PM EDT2018-05-22 22:23:32 GMT
    Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)
    Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)
    The Salisbury Police Department and the Baltimore FBI say three men have been arrested and charged in connection to January's armored truck robbery.More
    The Salisbury Police Department and the Baltimore FBI say three men have been arrested and charged in connection to January's armored truck robbery.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Arrests Made in Salisbury Armored Truck Robbery

    Arrests Made In Salisbury Armored Truck Robbery

    May 22, 2018 12:57 PM2018-05-22 16:57:00 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 6:23 PM EDT2018-05-22 22:23:32 GMT
    Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)
    Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)
    The Salisbury Police Department and the Baltimore FBI say three men have been arrested and charged in connection to January's armored truck robbery.More
    The Salisbury Police Department and the Baltimore FBI say three men have been arrested and charged in connection to January's armored truck robbery.More
  • Dover Traffic Stop Leads to Multiple Drug Charges

    Dover Traffic Stop Leads to Multiple Drug Charges

    May 22, 2018 4:25 PM2018-05-22 20:25:00 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 4:25 PM EDT2018-05-22 20:25:52 GMT
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Dover man on multiple drug related offenses after he was stopped for a traffic violation.More
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Dover man on multiple drug related offenses after he was stopped for a traffic violation.More
  • Ocean City Responds After Video of Criminal Activity During Cruisin' Weekend

    Ocean City Responds After Video of Criminal Activity During Cruisin' Weekend

    May 21, 2018 5:31 PM2018-05-21 21:31:00 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 7:40 AM EDT2018-05-22 11:40:41 GMT
    Ocean City's mayor and police department are speaking out after video showed a large fight and a truck driving wildly on the Ocean City Boardwalk over the weekend.More
    Ocean City's mayor and police department are speaking out after video showed a large fight and a truck driving wildly on the Ocean City Boardwalk over the weekend. More
  • Maryland News</span><div style="float:right"><a href="/global/Category.asp?C=185256">More &gt;&gt;</a></div><span>Maryland NewsMore>>

  • NEW DETAILS: Parkside High School Student Arrested for Assaulting 14-Year-Old in School Guidance Office

    Parkside High School Student Arrested for Assaulting 14-Year-Old During School Hours

    May 21, 2018 7:52 PM2018-05-21 23:52:00 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 3:52 AM EDT2018-05-23 07:52:14 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md.- Court documents say the Parkside High School student arrested Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student during school hours did so in a school guidance office room.More
    SALISBURY, Md.- Court documents say the Parkside High School student arrested Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student during school hours did so in a school guidance office room.More
  • Scientists Battle Mosquitoes with Tiny "Copepods"

    Scientists Battle Mosquitoes with Tiny "Copepods"

    May 22, 2018 6:46 PM2018-05-22 22:46:00 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 6:46 PM EDT2018-05-22 22:46:33 GMT
    With plenty of rain on Delmarva, there are plenty of mosquitoes. Scientists at Horn Point Lab in Cambridge say they may have one thing up their sleeve to stop them.More
    With plenty of rain on Delmarva, there are plenty of mosquitoes. Scientists at Horn Point Lab in Cambridge say they may have one thing up their sleeve to stop them.More
  • Arrests Made in Salisbury Armored Truck Robbery

    Arrests Made In Salisbury Armored Truck Robbery

    May 22, 2018 12:57 PM2018-05-22 16:57:00 GMT
    Tuesday, May 22 2018 6:23 PM EDT2018-05-22 22:23:32 GMT
    Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)
    Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)Pictured from left: Michael D. Watts, Orneth Patrick South and Ryan Shevin Smith (Photos credit: FBI/Salisbury Police Department)
    The Salisbury Police Department and the Baltimore FBI say three men have been arrested and charged in connection to January's armored truck robbery.More
    The Salisbury Police Department and the Baltimore FBI say three men have been arrested and charged in connection to January's armored truck robbery.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices