BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The Department of Natural Resources measures how many crabs are in the Chesapeake Bay every year to determine what the summer crabbing season will look like.

The DNR’s winter crab survey of Maryland and Virginia has concluded, now many await what the crabbing season will look like once the numbers come in.

“That will give us a pretty good indication of what the summer and rest of the crabbing season will look like,” said Dave Blazer of the DNR.

In 2017, fewer juvenile crabs were surveyed, which resulted in smaller catch for the fall. This year’s crabbing season has been off to a “pretty slow start,” according to Blazer.

Water temperatures have been around the mid-40’s. It needs to be around the 50’s for the crabs to be active. But of greater concern, is the possibility of a crab die-off from the freezing temperatures earlier in the winter.

“Yeah, that’s the concern because we had that real deep freeze for that week this winter,” Blazer said. “But we also worry about the nor’easter’s that we had, four in a row. They could have an impact on over-wintering crabs.”

DNR will know for certain once the water warms up and the results of the annual winter crab survey are released later in April.

“That will give us a pretty good indication of what the summer and rest of the crabbing season will look like,” Blazer said.

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