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.

Importance

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.

Outcomes

Blue Crab Abundance

Blue crabs are important to the ecology and economy of the Chesapeake Bay. The keystone species supports commercial and recreational fisheries across the region. But poor water quality, habitat loss, harvest pressure and natural predation can affect their continued health. Tracking blue crab population levels can inform how harvest regulations should or shouldn’t change if we are to maintain a sustainable blue crab stock.

Outcome:

Maintain a sustainable blue crab population based on a target of 196* million adult females. Refine population targets through 2025 based on best available science.

*The original target of 215 million was revised in November 2020 based on the best available science as outlined in the outcome language.

Original 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.

Contact:
Bruce Vogt (410) 267-5655
Management Strategy:
2018 2019 blue crab management strategy (pdf - 564.125 KB)
Logic & Action Plan:
2020 2021 blue crab logic and action plan (pdf - 267.026 KB)
Archived Strategy Review System Documents:
View Archived Strategy Review System Documents

Track Progress

Blue Crab Management

Blue crabs are important to the ecology and economy of the Chesapeake Bay. The keystone species supports commercial and recreational fisheries across the region. But poor water quality, habitat loss, harvest pressure and natural predation can affect their continued health. Tracking blue crab population levels can inform how harvest regulations should or shouldn’t change if we are to maintain a sustainable blue crab stock.
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.
Contact:
Bruce Vogt (410) 267-5655
Management Strategy:
2018 2019 blue crab management strategy (pdf - 564.125 KB)
Logic & Action Plan:
2020 2021 blue crab logic and action plan (pdf - 267.026 KB)
Archived Strategy Review System Documents:
View Archived Strategy Review System Documents

Track Progress

Oysters

Filter-feeding oysters and their reefs can improve water quality and provide habitat for invertebrates and fish. These native bivalves are an iconic Chesapeake Bay species that has been decimated by pollution, disease and historic overharvesting. Restoring and protecting oyster reefs in Bay tributaries would reestablish the species and provide important ecosystem services to the Bay.
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.
Contact:
Justin Shapiro
Management Strategy:
2020 2021 oyster management strategy 2 (pdf - 364.673 KB)
Logic & Action Plan:
2020 2021 oysters logic and action plan (pdf - 211.298 KB)
Archived Strategy Review System Documents:
View Archived Strategy Review System Documents

Track Progress

Forage Fish

Forage fish form an important link in the Chesapeake Bay food web, serving as prey for other fish species like striped bass, bluefish and weakfish. Improving our understanding of the role forage fish play in the Bay will improve our ability to manage predator fish species, many of which are commercially and recreationally valuable to the region.
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.
Lead Workgroup:
Forage Action Team
Contact:
Justin Shapiro
Management Strategy:
2018 2019 forage management strategy (pdf - 633.025 KB)
Logic & Action Plan:
2020 2021 forage logic and action plan (pdf - 274.167 KB)
Archived Strategy Review System Documents:
View Archived Strategy Review System Documents

Track Progress

Fish Habitat

At present, there is limited information about how different fish use different Chesapeake Bay habitats during different parts of their lives. But we know healthy habitats—including the wetlands, rivers and streams that serve as nursery, spawning and forage areas—are important to fisheries productivity. Identifying and improving our understanding about important fish habitat will help target our conservation and restoration efforts.
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.
Lead Workgroup:
Fish Habitat Action Team
Contact:
Justin Shapiro
Management Strategy:
2018 2019 fish habitat management strategy final 12 3 18 (pdf - 857.534 KB)
Logic & Action Plan:
2020 21 fish habitat logic and action plan 01152020 final clean (pdf - 120.725 KB)
Archived Strategy Review System Documents:
View Archived Strategy Review System Documents

Track Progress