Crabbers could face stricter harvest limits this fall because of declining populations in the Chesapeake Bay, particularly of female blue crabs.


The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Advisory Report makes several recommendations to minimize the risks to crab populations, including establishing sanctuaries, improving reporting and reducing the harvest.


The quickest and easiest way to protect the crab population is through managing the harvest, because many different factors have contributed to the decline of the blue crab population, said Joe Grist, chair of the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, the committee that developed the report.


“It’s hard to say exactly why” the population of blue crabs has dropped, said Andrew Turner, coordinator of the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee. “It’s a multitude of reasons.”


“In the last year, we have seen a variety of issues that affect the fisheries,” Grist said.


“This was not solely caused by fishermen,” Grist said. “There is a bigger thing here.”


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