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Survey: Bay's juvenile crab population is lowest since 1990

The total abundance of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay was 282 million, a below-average total largely attributed to the low juvenile numbers.

SALISBURY, Md. — An annual survey of Chesapeake Bay blue crabs estimates that the population of juvenile crabs has fallen to its low level since the Maryland Department of Natural Resources started the survey more than 30 years ago. 

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the department’s review also found positive trends, including a rise in the bay’s population of spawning-age mature female crabs, from 141 million in 2020 to 158 million in 2021. 

The total abundance of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay was 282 million, a below-average total largely attributed to the low juvenile numbers.

The news from the Salisbury Daily Times comes as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that female blue crabs have increased in the Chesapeake Bay from 141 million in 2020 to 158 million female crabs this year.

“Blue crab fishery managers will need to keep a close eye on juvenile and male abundance over the summer through our monitoring efforts and to exercise caution moving forward into next year, as these crabs recruit to the fishery,” said Mike Luisi, director of Maryland DNR’s Monitoring and Assessment Division of Fishing and Boating Services.

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