EASTON — While the Department of Natural Resources' Winter Dredge Survey for crabs is still a few weeks off, Eastern Shore watermen are gearing up for another season of catching the Chesapeake Bay's favorite little blue delicacies.

Winter icing of the Chesapeake Bay isn't just dangerous for watermen's wallets — too much ice on the Bay means watermen can't work, and watermen lost about four weeks this oyster season because of it — but ice can be dangerous for the Bay's iconic blue crabs, too.

"Right after that ice, we saw a lot of dead crabs," Talbot County Watermen's Association President Bunky Chance said.

Chance said ice lowers the oxygen levels in the water, and the older, larger crabs are usually the first to die when that happens.

Watermen were concerned at first when they started seeing "dead crab after dead crab" turn up after they got a chance to get back out on the water near the end of winter, Chance said.

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