Blue Crab Numbers Up in the Chesapeake Bay

The annual winter dredge surveyed dug up some good news in the Chesapeake Bay: after a few years of significant declines, the blue crab population is on its way back up! Learn more in our blog.


The blue crab population is increasing in the Chesapeake Bay.

Blue Crab Numbers Up in the Chesapeake Bay

Every winter, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources conducts its Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey. The DNR conducts dredging at 1,500 sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay from December through March in order to determine the population of blue crabs in the bay.

The blue crab population in the bay had languished for some time, but in 2008, new regulations went into effected that restricted the harvesting of female crabs. “This was done by stopping a dredge harvest in Virginia that caught mostly she-crabs, and shortening the season to protect mature egg-bearing females,” according to the New York Times.

The new regulations made a significant impact. The population went from 293 million in 2008 to 396 million in 2009, all the way to 765 million in 2012.

However, in 2013, the blue crab population in the Chesapeake plummeted to 300 million, and 297 million in 2014. A number of potential reasons for the drop were suggested, but no one was definitively sure why this happened. Still, there was a lot of uncertainty future of the bay’s blue crab population.


Fortunately, it looks like the bay’s blue crab population may be on the way back up. The numbers from this year’s dredge report were very promising:

411 million crabs – A 38% increase over last year and the 11th highest total in the past 25 years.

269 million juvenile crabs – A 35% increase over last year and more than double the 2013 number.

101 million sooks (female crabs) – A 46% increase over last year.

The target number for sooks is 215 million, which means the female blue crab population is still well below desired levels. However, a 46% increase in the sook population certainly bodes well for the future. Furthermore, “Existing regulations limiting the harvest of female crabs will be in place until July 4, and will likely be extended by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission,” according to

Catonsville Gourmet: The Best Fresh Seafood in the Baltimore Area

Catonsville Gourmet is the perfect destination for fresh seafood, from crabmeat to rockfish to today’s fresh catch, in the Baltimore area. We offer the freshest seafood, delectable prepared foods, gourmet products and a unique dining experience.

Catonsville Gourmet’s goal is to offer impeccably fresh seafood, angus beef, delectable prepared foods, gourmet products and a unique dining experience close to home.

If you have any questions, please contact Catonsville Gourmet by calling 410-788-0005 or visit our website today! You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest.

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