August 9, 2011
CBF Issues Statement Following Release of
Blue Crab Stock Assessment
A new scientific report confirms that Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are becoming more abundant, although much more needs to be done before the crab population reaches sustainable levels.
What's next for the Chesapeake's crab harvest?
Maryland - Maryland's Blue Crab Industry Advisory Committee will meet later this fall to identify 2012 conservation strategies for females.
Virginia - Virginia's Marine Resources Commission will meet August 23, 2011, to decide conservation measures, including whether to close the winter crab dredge fishery for the fourth year in a row.
The bay-wide Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee will meet in September 2011 to review the data and make conservation recommendations to the Maryland, Virginia, and Potomac River Fisheries Commission.
(ANNAPOLIS, MD/NORFOLK, VA/HAMPTON ROADS, VA)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Senior Fisheries Scientist Bill Goldsborough and Hampton Roads Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statements regarding the release of the just completed blue crab stock assessment.
"This stock assessment provides important new science to guide the management of the Bay's blue crabs over the next decade. It shows that if Maryland and Virginia stay the course, the Bay's crab population could return to levels not seen since the 1960s. This will bring clear and measurable benefits to all of us who enjoy steamed crabs, for recreational anglers, and for the commercial watermen who depend on the resource for a living."
"This assessment helps confirm that the tough conservation decisions Virginia and Maryland made in 2008 were the right actions to take to get the Bay's blue crab population back on track. We are now seeing a rebounding crab population, increased harvests, and greater economic value of the crab fishery.
"This should encourage the states to maintain their current approach to managing crabs in a way that not only protects the crab population but ensures the long-term economic prosperity of the fishery."
*The report was funded by the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, with support from the state of Maryland and Commonwealth of Virginia, and developed by a collaboration of Bay scientists, led by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. It underwent an international peer review by the Center for Independent Experts.