April 18, 2009

Chesapeake Bay’s blue crabs rebounding

The Chesapeake Bay's female blue crab population doubled in the last year, say Maryland and Virginia officials working to halt steep declines in harvests.

The increase was credited to catch restrictions aimed at preserving females so they can live to produce future generations, The Sun newspaper in Baltimore reported Saturday.

Overall, the Bay's blue crab numbers increased from an estimated 280 million in 2007-2008 to more than 418 million in 2008-2009, with the number of baby crabs holding steady at 175 million, said John Griffin, secretary of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources.

It's a great first step in terms of rebuilding the crab population, Griffin said, adding It's just the first step, not the last. The real issue here is to build this population back up and sustain it over time.

The bay's crab population currently is one-third of what it was 15 years ago, The Sun reported.