An annual report has found the overall population of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has declined, and it recommended scaling back the number harvested in the fall.
The annual Blue Crab Advisory Report was released Monday. It was developed by scientists and other experts and will be used by state officials in Maryland and Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to develop crab management strategies.
The report found that while numbers of adult female crabs in the Bay increased by 31 percent in 2017, the overall population decreased by almost 18 percent. The number of juvenile crabs decreased by 54 percent from 2016 to 2017.
Blue crab populations can vary widely based on weather, water temperature and other conditions, as well as fishing pressure.