January 31, 2023


Creating Possibilities

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter season Dredge Survey Results Released

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey Outcomes Released

Maryland and Virginia to Evaluate Study Results, Make a decision Management Technique

Workers look at a juvenile blue crab as component of the annual winter dredge survey photo taken in 2017. Image by Stephen Badger, Maryland Section of All-natural Assets.

The Maryland Department of All-natural Means (DNR) introduced the benefits of the 2022 Baywide Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, a cooperative hard work with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), which yearly estimates the range of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.

The overall abundance of blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay in 2022 was 227 million crabs, the most affordable abundance noticed because the study started in 1990. The number of juvenile crabs in 2022 was 101 million crabs, a slight maximize from 86 million juvenile crabs in 2021, but the third consecutive year of underneath typical recruitment. 

Blue crab replica is normally variable and it is hard to identify a singular rationale for the current period of minimal juvenile abundance. Larval blue crabs build in ocean waters in excess of the continental shelf and numerous variables can impact recruitment results this sort of as oceanic disorders, offered nursery habitat, predation, and other environmental disorders. Provided the recent shift, the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee is planning a workshop for fall 2022 to investigate probable recruitment motorists.

Irrespective of reduced abundance, the amount of spawning age woman crabs has been previously mentioned the administration threshold of 72.5 million crabs for 8 consecutive years and at a degree capable of making a sturdy year class. The spawning age feminine abundance lowered from 158 million crabs in 2021 to 97 million crabs in 2022. Moreover, the final results showed there were being 28 million grownup male crabs, which is the least expensive grownup male abundance on document.

The Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions have taken care of harvest of blue crabs at harmless stages established forth in the last benchmark inventory evaluation considering the fact that 2008. In spite of assembly these administration objectives, adult blue crab abundance has steadily declined. DNR will be doing the job with partners in Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission on a coordinated tactic to established management measures for the 2022 crabbing period that tackle the conservation needs of the resource.

The Chesapeake Bay Inventory Assessment Committee will critique the study success and present their scientific advice for management throughout their May perhaps assembly. Subsequent their guidance, DNR will start out discussions with the Blue Crab Field Advisory Committee to offer steering relating to the course of motion for 2022 that promotes the health and sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab populace and its fisheries.

The Wintertime Dredge Survey has been done cooperatively by DNR and VIMS  considering that 1990, and the benefits are reviewed annually in an hard work to have constant management efforts across the jurisdictions. During the study, biologists use dredge products to seize, measure, history and release blue crabs at 1,500 web pages all over the Chesapeake Bay from December by means of March. Thorough final results are on the DNR internet site.