While seeing a not insignificant year-over-year decline, the population of adult crabs in the Chesapeake Bay remains at sustainable levels and the crab population is not being overfished, according to new data.
Between 2019 and 2020, the abundance of adult female blue crabs in the Bay decreased 26 percent to 141 million based on a variety of factors, according to estimates released April 6 by the Chesapeake Bay Program.
“Despite the decrease, this number remains above the 70-million threshold which is considered a sustainable level,” the organization said in its annual “Bay Barometer” report.
According to the estimates, approximately 17 percent of female blue crabs were harvested in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available. That figure is well below the rate of 34 percent that would be considered overfishing.
“The blue-crab stock in the Bay is not being depleted,” the organization said.
The annual report contains updates on a number of factors related to overall Chesapeake Bay health, and “continues to show an ecosystem in recovery from short-term weather impacts and long-term water-quality degradation occurring from excess nutrients and sediment.”
Find more coverage of the state of the Chesapeake Bay in the April 9-10-11 Weekend edition of the Sun Gazette!