Slow Start for Chesapeake Crabbing Season

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Last year, the crab harvest in the Chesapeake Bay was down to historically low levels. Total abundance in blue crabs in the Bay dropped from 765 million to 300 million. The 2014 crabbing season is just beginning, and is off to a slow start, according to a piece I heard this morning on WAMU. Although there is hope that the harvest will pick up, last year saw similar reports of a slow start to the season, and incredibly low catches throughout 2013. Could we have another low crab harvest this year? It may be too early to tell.

The WAMU piece includes an interview with Robert T. Brown, the president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association. He expresses uncertainty over the 2014 crab harvest, as many of the Bay’s blue crabs are still buried in the mud with the low water temperatures. The start of the crabbing season in Maryland was April 1, and March 17 in Virginia. However, many watermen will not be able to crab until temperatures warm up and crabs emerge from the Bay floor.


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) report on the 2013 Chesapeake Bay blue crab numbers

Maryland DNR commercial fishing regulations

Virginia Marine Resources Commission “Pertaining to Crabbing” (Crabbing regulations)

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