Chesapeake Crab Assessment

The health of the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population is getting more attention. A group of scientists met in March to review an assessment of the crab population led by the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science. A final draft of the report is expected sometime this summer. The report will be used along with results of the annual winter dredge survey to guide management of the crab harvest. The winter dredge survey found a cold winter hurt the population, killing nearly a third of adult crabs. However, Maryland natural resources officials say crab numbers are above target levels for recovery of the fishery. Harvest restrictions were put in place beginning in 2008 after previous surveys found a sharp population drop.