An annual winter dredge survey of the Chesapeake Bay concludes our cold winter has hurt the crab crop.
The survey released Tuesday shows the crab population is at 460 million, a sharp decrease from more than 650 million in last year's survey.
Almost one third of the bay's adult crabs were lost to cold weather, compared to about 11 percent last year, said officials at The Department of Natural Resources. However, the population is still at its second-highest level since 1997 and above target levels for the fishery, officials said.
In addition, last year’s harvest was below the 46 percent target level set to maintain a healthy population of our regional delicacy.
The dredge survey is conducted by Maryland and Virginia and is the most comprehensive look at the Chesapeake Bay's crab population.