Hot girl summer? Blue crab study shows ‘healthy female abundance’ in Chesapeake Bay

FILE – In this June 1, 2016 file photo live blue crabs are displayed for sale at the Maine Avenue Fish Market in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

Let’s go, girls.

The female population of the Chesapeake Bay’s renowned blue crabs are in a healthy abundance, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced Friday.

A recent survey showed the number of spawning-age female crabs in the Chesapeake Bay rose to 158 million, compared to 141 million last year.

Protecting and growing the female population is a “critical component to maintaining a healthy and sustainable blue crab population,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said in a statement Friday.

However, this year’s estimated total number of blue crabs, 282 million, is below average for the 32 years of survey results. Experts believe the low number of juvenile crabs in the Chesapeake Bay are likely a factor.

“Blue crab fishery managers will need to keep a close eye on juvenile and male abundance over the summer through our monitoring efforts and to exercise caution moving forward into next year, as these crabs recruit to the fishery,” said Mike Luisi, director of Maryland DNR’s Monitoring and Assessment Division of Fishing and Boating Services.

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