Late last month the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) published a press release on new crabbing regulations the agency had issued to reduce the harvesting of female and juvenile crabs in Virginia waters. The VMRC voted to reduce the female blue crab harvest in Virginia by 10% over the next year, effective July 4, 2014 through July 5, 2015. New limitations on blue crab culling reduce bushel limits by license category (number of crab pots a certain crabber has a license for).The VMRC has also closed winter dredging of blue crabs for this upcoming winter, for the seventh year in a row.
This spring I posted on the incredibly low numbers of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay and spoke to the VMRC on steps moving forward. (“Blue Crab Numbers Low Again This Year,” “Information on Blue Crab Regulations“). As stated, the VMRC consulted with two partner agencies, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, and used two advisory committees (the Crab Management Advisory Committee and the Crab Industry Advisory Committee) to make their decisions.
According to the VMRC, the new regulations will protect juvenile crabs and and will “[bolster] the number of spawning age females.” Reducing the catch of these crabs will help to bring the overall crab population back to a sustainable level in the coming seasons.