Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs Spawning Like Jackrabbits

It'll be a tough life for these Depression Babies

By JIM NEWELL
|  Friday, Apr 17, 2009  |  Updated 5:15 PM EDT
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Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs Spawning Like Jackrabbits

Wikimedia Commons

Whoa, hey now. You still need to keep it in the bedroom.

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Some good news for the local economy! No, it's not the banks, they are still insolvent; and everyone with a mortgage is still defaulting. It's the famous local food product, the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs! They're mating like unhinged teenagers, and soon their precious children will be EATED.

The Bay's "crab population" plummeted to a severe low last year of approximately 280 million -- down from 828 million in 1991. This was why they cost about $4.2 million per dozen on the market last year, and most of them were from like Louisiana anyway.

The Bay's crab decrease over the last 20 years has been a regular source of worry for local restaurants and fishermen, because the demand from locals and tourists alike every summer -- to smash these boiled salty monsters with mallets, rip their claws and legs off, tear their bodies in half, rip out their lungs, clean out their yellow intestines, pick out tiny slabs of monster meat, dip the meat in an arbitrary liquid such as vinegar, and finally eat them -- has not abated. But the supply sure has, mostly because the Chesapeake Bay is 75% rat poison now and the former oyster fishermen are now going for crabs, too, after catching every possible oyster in the Bay forever.

But some scientists think this year's mating has gone so well: because fishermen are no longer able to steal fertile lady crabs from their frozen winter hiding caves.

Last year, both Maryland and Virginia took major steps to cut back on the harvest of female crabs, which produce the eggs that could rebuild the Chesapeake's population. The states limited the number of female crabs that could be taken at certain times and banned Virginia's traditional "dredge" fishery, in which watermen scraped the crustaceans out of their winter burrows.

Time to smash!

Jim Newell writes for Wonkette and IvyGate.

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