WASHINGTON – Blue crab numbers have been on the rise over the past year, according to a new report on the Chesapeake Bay crab population.
The study, conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, shows female crab numbers in particular have been growing substantially.
There were 194 million female crabs at the start of the 2016 crabbing season, compared with 101 million last year.
In 2014, female crab numbers were down to 68 million.
Juvenile crab numbers have also been growing, with 269 million counted last year and 271 million this year.
“The blue crab population is at a healthy level,” biologist Glenn Davis told the Baltimore Sun. “Having both juvenile and adult components at or above the long-term average has only happened once since 1994.”
Overall, the total number of Chesapeake Bay crabs at the beginning of this year’s season was 553 million, well above last year’s count of 411 million.