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Sustainable Fisheries

Habitat loss, poor water quality and harvest pressure continue to threaten the sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay’s recreational and commercial fisheries. Sustaining fish and shellfish populations supports a maritime culture, a strong economy and a healthy ecosystem.

Goal: Protect, restore and enhance finfish, shellfish and other living resources, their habitats and ecological relationships to sustain all fisheries and provide for a balanced ecosystem in the watershed and Bay.


Blue Crab Abundance Outcome: Maintain a sustainable blue crab population based on the current 2012 target of 215 million adult females. Refine population targets through 2025 based on best available science. Learn more about this outcome.

Blue Crab Management Outcome: Manage for a stable and productive crab fishery including working with the industry, recreational crabbers and other stakeholders to improve commercial and recreational harvest accountability. By 2018, evaluate the establishment of a Bay-wide, allocation-based management framework with annual levels set by the jurisdictions for the purpose of accounting for and adjusting harvest by each jurisdiction. Learn more about this outcome.

Oyster Outcome: Continually increase finfish and shellfish habitat and water quality benefits from restored oyster populations. Restore native oyster habitat and populations in 10 tributaries by 2025 and ensure their protection. Learn more about this outcome.

Forage Fish Outcome: Continually improve the Partnership’s capacity to understand the role of forage fish populations in the Chesapeake Bay. By 2016, develop a strategy for assessing the forage fish base available as food for predatory species in the Chesapeake Bay. Learn more about this outcome.

Fish Habitat Outcome: Continually improve effectiveness of fish habitat conservation and restoration efforts by identifying and characterizing critical spawning, nursery and forage areas within the Bay and tributaries for important fish and shellfish, and use existing and new tools to integrate information and conduct assessments to inform restoration and conservation efforts. Learn more about this outcome.

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