Chesapeake blue crab numbers rise slightly

For the second straight year, a harsh winter killed more than a quarter of adult blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.

But a baywide survey of the crab population released Monday said there was encouraging news in spite of the blow. The overall population of the beleaguered crustacean climbed modestly from a catastrophic low last year.

The yearly winter dredge survey conducted by Virginia and Maryland marine scientists estimates that 411 million crabs are in the main stem of the bay and its tributaries, a 38 percent increase from last year’s critically low population.

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