Maryland DNR shows 35 percent increase in blue crab population

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This spring could mean more crab cakes, steamed crab and crab soup to go around!

“We’re already seeing that now,” said Peymon Manesh, manager of Cameron’s Mobile Seafood. “The prices have come down, and hopefully we’ll see that through the rest of the season.”

Marylanders are proud of the blue crab and an increase in population and size means you could get more crab for your buck this summer.

 “There certainly will be a good size range of crabs available,” said Brenda Davis of the Maryland DNR.

There are nearly double the amount of female crabs and more than double the number of male crabs, making it the second highest levels since 1995.

According to the DNR, a few key factors have led to the hike, including mild temperatures, favorable tides and increased regulations on crabbing.

 “In 2008, the bay jurisdictions in Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River switched to a coordinated management strategy that limits the harvest of mature females,” Davis said.

”They didn’t have any of these rules like three or four years ago and they put them all in place, and every year we’ve seen an increase,” Manesh said.

 “Crabbing for the females is always a concern because then there isn’t as much room for reproduction, and then the weather is a huge part of the crab population,” said Danielle Bloom, general manager of Schula’s Grill and Crabhouse.

This means that DNR officials could relax harvest limits this summer.

 “When there’s a lot of crabs, crabbers give you better crabs,” Manesh said. “So, right now we’re seeing crabs that are this big. We never see them that big at this early in the season.”

“We have to make sure that the health and the population continue to increase because it’s still not where it has been in the past,” Bloom said.

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