Based on 2011-2012 winter dredge survey data and estimates of Bay-wide harvest, the Chesapeake Bay spawning-age female blue crab population and harvest continued at sustainable levels. Harvest remained below the maximum number that can be taken (34 percent).
April 2013: The Chesapeake Bay winter dredge survey is an annual count of the Bay’s blue crab population, and a critical component of blue crab management. The information gathered on abundance, young-of-the-year and spawning stock—those crabs that will mature enough to reproduce during the upcoming year—allows fisheries managers to set commercial and recreational harvest limits for the season ahead.
Closed captions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28mvEE7ydXA
Produced by Steve Droter
Music: “Elle Aime Ca” by Löhstana David
The Chesapeake Bay fishing industry holds tremendous commercial, cultural, and historic value. Managing the blue crab, oyster, striped bass, shad, and menhaden fisheries is also critical to restoring and protecting these species and their important place in the ecosystem.
A target abundance level of 215 million spawning-age female crabs was adopted in 2011. The current overfishing threshold is 34 percent of the spawning-age female population and the target is 25.5 percent.
The 2012 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Advisory Report recommends the following for female crabs:
The Blue Crab Advisory Report, developed by the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee (CBSAC), is based primarily on data from the Bay-wide Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey and on annual estimates of blue crab harvest. In 2006, the CBSAC adopted the Bay-wide winter dredge survey as the primary indicator of blue crab stock status because it is the most comprehensive and statistically robust of the blue crab surveys conducted in the Bay.
The CBSAC includes fisheries scientists from universities, the states of Maryland and Virginia, and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.
Based on recommendations from the 2011 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Advisory Report, this indicator now tracks spawning-age female blue crab abundance and harvest in relation to targets and thresholds for this portion of the population. Previously the indicator tracked total adult abundance and harvest (males and females) in relation to interim targets and thresholds for that population.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office