Motorun, a small community at the southern tip of Mathews County, got its name from the sound of boats starting up in nearby Davis Creek. When the post office was established in 1910 (it closed in 1967), fishermen were just beginning to convert their working vessels from sail to gasoline engines.
Over the years, Davis Creek became a regional center for the sturdy workboats operated by winter crab dredgers. A couple of decades ago, it was common for two dozen or more of these vessels to fire up their engines in the pre-dawn hours and edge out into the icy blasts of December and January, and the months beyond, hoping for a good harvest of crabs.
With the crab population plunging, Virginia shut down the crab dredging industry in 2008, throwing a lot of people out of work.
This drastic remedy seems to be paying off. The spring 2016 Chesapeake Bay Winter Dredge Survey, conducted annually by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, showed a strong rebound in the population of crabs. The ...
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