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Author Topic: Chesapeake Bay Commission Report on the Blue Crab  (Read 2371 times)
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Miocene
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« on: August 08, 2006, 11:46:07 PM »

Found this online...

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Bay Crab Population Stable, But Low
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
WBAL Radio and The Associated Press


Blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay are holding steady, but fishing limits still are needed, a three-state commission concluded Tuesday.

The Chesapeake Bay Commission, a study group set up by state lawmakers in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, estimated the blue crab population last year at about 350 million. That's several million more crabs than a low point in 2001, but well below historical levels. More than 800 million blue crabs were thought to be in the bay in 1990.

Scientists who conducted the survey said it was good news that the blue crab population is stable, but water quality and habitat loss are still a concern. The best news, they said, was that catch limits imposed by the states in 2002 are being followed. Last year was the first in which watermen caught fewer crabs than the limit.

"The take-home message is that the condition of the blue crab population has improved," said Thomas Miller, professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, who worked on the survey.

Watermen last year caught about 60 million pounds of crabs. The catch was about 37 percent of the crab population. Before the limits, watermen took about 72 percent of the bay's crabs in 1999.

The catch is now regulated by the Virginia, Maryland and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission.

The survey noted that catch limits are helping preserve the population and should be continued.

"The reason why this is very significant is because several years ago there were some alarming trends with blue crabs," said Ann Swanson, head of the commission.

There were points of worry for scientists, too. Survey authors noted that low-oxygen zones in the bay last year meant less habitat for the crabs. They also pointed out that fewer grass beds on the bay floor may be contributing to high juvenile mortality rates and that population surveys this year pointed to a return to lower numbers.

Swanson said the survey shows that fishing limits are effective and should be maintained.

"The blue crab should be able to rebuild its abundance, but we have to keep the fishing pressure" low, she said.
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dfran
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2006, 06:55:21 AM »

Thanks for the info Miocene Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
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CrabstaDude
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2006, 09:58:19 AM »

Its great how the news sugar coats everything.  Here is a link to the full report.  It is very interesting.  Thanks for the info M! Wink

http://www.chesbay.state.va.us/whatsNew.htm

education for me.. quite a number of factors contributing to the flux in blue crab population over the years. one slide that stuck out for me was #9 from the CHESAPEAKE BAY COMMISSION BLUE CRAB TECHNICAL WORK GROUP 2005 STATUS REPORT. titled Tracking The Abundance of Adult Female Crabs.. from 1990 - 1992 the pop dropped like a lead ballon and a steady decline form 1992 - 2005. flatline below 1.0 avg number of crabs per tow. i have not caught many female crabs but when I do i toss them right back into the river. need them females to help populate as in my mind having a large female pop is key to increasing pop.. duh !!..

anyway.. thanks for sharing
« Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 10:01:30 AM by CrabstaDude » Logged
CrabstaDude
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2006, 09:59:57 AM »

btw - it is legal to keep female crab caught in MD, isn't it?
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2006, 02:01:31 PM »

thanks , that is some good info.
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2006, 10:57:25 PM »

Its great how the news sugar coats everything. Here is a link to the full report. It is very interesting. Thanks for the info M! Wink

http://www.chesbay.state.va.us/whatsNew.htm

Thanks for the link ST!  Cool Those graphs don't look to promising for a stable crab population.   Sad
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dfran
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2006, 06:31:36 AM »

btw - it is legal to keep female crab caught in MD, isn't it?

Yes! unless it has eggs. There isn't even a minimum size on mature females.
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