Chesapeake blue crab population booms

Marylanders could have an easier time finding — and affording — local crabs this summer, a survey of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population suggests.

There are more than 550 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, an increase of more than a third over this time last year and one of the highest counts of the past two decades, according to state officials. They credit favorable weather and past harvest restrictions for a second straight year of strong crab population growth.

“We fully anticipate a robust crab season this year,” said Dave Blazer, fisheries survey director for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Officials plan to explore whether the increasing numbers should prompt regulators to loosen harvest restrictions or lengthen the crabbing season.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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