RICHMOND — The commercial harvest of blue crabs has been extended in Virginia as the crab population trends upward.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted last week to approve the extension recommended by the Crab Management Advisory Committee. The harvest of crabs by hard crab pot is now Dec. 16, pushed back from Nov. 30. Lower bushel limits will begin Nov. 1 instead of Oct. 1.
The purpose of these changes is to promote efficient utilization of blue crabs and economic stability for the fishing industry, according to the Marine Resources Commission.
“Female crabs are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring on them,” said Alexa Galván, a fisheries manager with the commission during a VRMC meeting. “But, the 2021 and 2022 exploitation rates were slightly above the target, not of the threshold which would be overfishing.”