ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crabs are not overfished, but fisheries managers should keep a close eye on this year’s harvest because of a cold winter that cut the population.

That’s the assessment of the bay’s blue crab stocks released Monday by federal officials. The researchers noted a cold winter killed nearly a third of the bay’s crabs and fewer crabs at the beginning of the 2011 harvest raised the risk of exceeding harvest targets. The winter kill followed a rebound attributed to restrictions put in place in 2008 following a sharp drop in crab numbers blamed on overfishing, pollution and loss of habitat.

The report was released by the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, which meets yearly to review crab data and advise state officials in Maryland and Virginia.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (4)
  1. matt says:

    Up until the mid 90’s, i was pulling 2 bushel a day as a recreational crabber in about 3-4 hours. Ever since about ’96 or so i’ve had trouble getting 1 bushel in 5-6 hours. Something is still wrong with the crab population and whatever it is needs to be identified and fixed.

    1. Other_Matt says:

      Matt, I’ll tell you what happened. the moratoriuim on Rockfish was lifted. Cut open any juvenile rock and you’ll find a gullet full of crabs and and fish. Development has dessimated poulations as well. Careless building on fragile wetlands far away & upstream from the Bay has had a terrible effect on the marshes and shallow areas where crabs habitate. I actually believe that overfishing is not a culprit. More and more watermen are leaving the profession every year.

      The only way to get things under control though is for the citizens to come together. The State and Feds are worthless. The Bay is a business to them (Tourism and Commerce) and thus worth only money to them. And when the well runs dry, they’ll move somewhere else and suck the life out of that. The worst thing you want to hear in a case like this is “I’m from the government, I’m here to help.”

      1. Other_Matt says:

        Forgot to mention the farms too. Lump that in with upstream pollution. Tyson would like everyone to forget Pfisteria. I haven’t bought a Purdue or Tyson product since that event.

      2. Jeff Adams says:

        You also forgot to mention urben filth, such as from the Inner Harbor.

        Urbanites are not as “green” as they are led to believe.

        The moratorium on rockfish being lifted should HELP crabs, as there are less rockfish, for the record

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