The Virginia Marine Resources Commission released the results of its 2016 blue crab winter dredge survey this week, which shows another year of growth in the stock and forecasts and improved harvest this year.
“We now have back-to-back years of solid growth in this important fishery,” said Commissioner John M.R. Bull, after the fishery had “been on a roller coaster for most of the last decade.” However, Bull was quick to point out that “two years does not make a trend.”
The survey results show the total population of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay climbed 35 percent to a total of 553 million, which VMRC spokesperson Laurie Naismith said is the fourth highest level since 1996. Last year, a 38 percent boost in abundance was recorded for the fishery.
Stock improvements were found in both female and male blue crabs, as well as juveniles and adults, the survey indicated.
The bay-wide crab harvest last year increased by 42 percent, to 50 millio...
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