Two things will jump out at you when reading the reports linked below. First thing, the total number of Blue Crabs in the Chesapeake Bay is the lowest ever recorded (227 M crabs). Second, the adult male Blue Crab population is the lowest ever recorded at only 28 million crabs. These are huge red flags, warning signs of a possible imminent population collapse of the iconic Chesapeake Bay blue crab. If you can remember, last summer dock prices on male blue crabs got to $300 a bushel for the fisherman. That is essentially a bounty, and the fishing pressure on blue crabs doubled or tripled quickly. It is plain to see we are overfishing this local blue crab population, especially the males.
Anyone who spends any time on the Bay has no problem seeing the millions and millions of cownosed rays that invade the Bay every summer, but no one can recall ever seeing this many rays as have entered the Bay this year. They also devastate the crab population. It is a miracle even one crab survives between the crab pots, peeler pots, and cownosed rays.
The Chesapeake Bay blue crab population has been declining since 2008. Resource managers better wake up quickly and take some drastic action. They cannot just sit there and hope and pray that God will give us a dominant year class of crabs. (Full Newsletter)
The Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee: Click Here
2022 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey: Click here