|2011 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Advisory Report|
Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are continuing to show signs of rebounding even though this year’s numbers dropped compared to last year’s, and currently support a healthy commercial and recreational fishery, according to the 2011 Blue Crab Advisory Report . The report recommends continued work to sustain robust crab populations over the long term, with a particular focus on protecting female crabs.
This echoes the recommendation in the recent Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Stock Assessment, a major, internationally peer-reviewed scientific report funded by NOAA that was released in August. The jurisdictions that manage blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay will use science from these reports to help guide their decisions as they draft regulations for 2012.
“The recent history of blue crabs in the bay is a success story about resource managers using the best science available to rebuild blue crab stocks,” said Peyton Robertson, director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office. “NOAA is delighted to provide important science that is helping managers ensure that the future looks bright for this iconic species.”
“We are going to be paying careful attention to the performance of the 2011 fishery relative to the new female-specific reference points. This is one of the things we’ll need to evaluate as we plan measures for the 2012 fishery,” said Lynn Fegley of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, current chair of the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee.
“The Virginia Marine Resources Commission is committed to doing what it takes to rebuild the bay’s blue crab population with our partners in Maryland and NOAA,'” said VMRC Commissioner Steven G. Bowman. “We are pleased with the progress that has been made so far, but the science dictates there is much more work to be done to achieve a robust stock that can weather reproductive setbacks and provide large, sustainable harvests for generations to come.”
The was formally approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team at a meeting December 19-20 in Alexandria, Virginia. The Goal Implementation Team, chaired by the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, provides a forum to discuss fishery management issues that cross state and other jurisdictional boundaries and better connect sound science to management decision making.