Monday, June 3, 2019

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Plentiful

According to the magazine, Coastal Living, Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs are more plentiful than they’ve been in 7 years.

Blue Crab 
According to an annual study, conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the population of the Chesapeake Bay’s famed blue crabs is booming, with nearly 600 million adults and juveniles estimated to be living in the bay’s waters in 2019.

Just a year ago. the number of crabs weighed in at just 371 million. This year, the healthy increase puts the blue crab population at its highest point since 2012, with spawning-age females—a big indicator of future population growth, according to scientists—up 29 percent since last winter.

This is great news for the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, and a key indicator that scientific efforts to help the population recover- including initiatives to control harvesting, mitigate pollution, and restore oyster reefs, where crabs often feed—may be working.
But a healthy population is also a huge bonus for the coastal Virginia and Maryland economies. Many Chesapeake watermen rely on a stable supply of blue crab for their livelihoods. And for restaurants, the delicacy is a summer menu staple. With populations up, experts expect a strong 2019 crabbing season and, with juvenile crabs doubled since last year, the trend to continue through 2020.