NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP)- A new report says that blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay are not being overharvested.
The bay’s blue crab population isn’t depleted and that there’s no need for any big changes in how many crabs watermen can catch.
The information comes from the Chesapeake Bay Program’s annual Blue Crab Advisory Report. It was released on Wednesday.
The report said that crab numbers declined from 594 million last year to 405 million this year. But the drop is in line with natural variation.
The most important issue for regulators is the female crab population. It fell by 26% last year. But it remains above the 70 million minimum that scientists say is needed to maintain the population.
At the same time, the region’s crab industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus, which closed restaurants for several weeks. Some crab houses have also had trouble obtaining visas for foreign crab pickers that they’ve relied on for generations.