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Dreaming of a blue summer

Posted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:14 pm

According to the 2019 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, it should be a good year for Chesapeake Bay crab lovers. The survey estimates that there are 594 million blue crabs in the bay, marking the highest level since 2012.

“Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab stock remains healthy and able to support quality commercial and recreational harvests,” said the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

For that to be the case, the Chesapeake Bay depends on all sizes of blue crab, at one time or another during the season. “Those benefits can be supported by this year’s overall abundant crab stock,” the agency continued. A mild winter and above average rainfall has produced an abundance of blue crabs that’s higher than normal for all life stages this year.

The recent survey estimates a total adult male and adult female crab population of 271 million, a 31 percent increase compared to 2018 and well above the 30-year average of 199 million crabs.

The number of female crabs that will spawn in late May or mid-summer of 2019 is estimated as 190 million. Not only is that a 29 percent increase over the 2018 female spawning population, but it’s also the fifth largest since the survey began 30 years ago, and “it remains well above the minimum safe threshold of 70 million crabs,” said VMRC.

Additionally, the survey estimates that the juvenile population is 323 million, up 93 percent from least year. Those crabs will grow large enough for harvest late in the summer.

For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 5/29/19