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Chesapeake Bay blue crab population declines 18%

Updated: Jun. 26, 2017 at 2:02 PM EDT
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(WWBT) - Researchers are recommending jurisdictions "maintain a risk-averse approach" when it comes to blue crab fishing regulations after the overall population declined nearly 18 percent from last year.

According to the Blue Crab Advisory Report, the overall crab population decreased from 553 million in 2016 to 455 million in 2017. This is mainly due to the number of juvenile crabs decreasing by 54 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Researchers were optimistic, however, when they saw the numbers for the adult female population: 254 million, higher than the target of 215 million set by the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

"The largest abundance of spawning females from the Winter Dredge Survey time series was great news, and demonstrated what can happen when jurisdictions adhere to science-based management," said Glenn Davis, Chair, Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee and Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The report recommends scaling back fall fishery to protect the juveniles so they grow old enough to spawn next year.

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