In 2008, the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee (CBSAC) recommended an interim abundance target (200 million age 1+ adults). The target level of 200 million was intended as an initial rebuilding goal (seen as something achievable in the short term). This target has been exceeded for three consecutive years.
In 2010, the Executive Order (EO) 13508 Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay was released and established a Blue Crab Outcome. The outcome is to “Maintain sustainable blue crab interim rebuilding target of 200 million adult (1+ years old) in 2011 and develop a new population target for 2012 through 2025.” The EO outcome was drafted based on a decision among NOAA and the jurisdictional management agencies (VMRC, PRFC, MD DNR) that any discussion and revision to the interim blue crab abundance target should be informed by the updated benchmark stock assessment slated for completion in 2011. The thinking was that coming up with a new blue crab target at the time of the EO strategy development would be putting policy ahead of science and that we should wait until a more informed discussion could occur before making any changes.
On August 9, 2011 a detailed 2011 Blue Crab Stock Assessment on the status of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay was publicly released. The Fisheries Goal Implementation Team (GIT) is hereby tasking CBSAC to fulfill the EO Outcome by revising the current “interim rebuilding target” based on the 2011 Stock Assessment results which may include a shift from the current total adult abundance target to a female based abundance target.