ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Chesapeake Bay's blue crabs are not overfished, but fisheries managers should keep a close eye on this year's harvest because of a cold winter that cut the population.
That's the assessment of the bay's blue crab stocks released Monday by federal officials. The researchers noted a cold winter killed nearly a third of the bay's crabs and fewer crabs at the beginning of the 2011 harvest raised the risk of exceeding harvest targets. The winter kill followed a rebound attributed to restrictions put in place in 2008 following a sharp drop in crab numbers blamed on overfishing, pollution and loss of habitat.
The report was released by the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, which meets yearly to review crab data and advise state officials in Maryland and Virginia.