Annual winter survey shows number of blue crabs growing in Chesapeake Bay

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NORFOLK, Virginia — An annual survey by marine officials shows a significant increase in the number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission says the overall bay-wide crab population increased from 297 million crabs to 411 million crabs, a 38 percent increase. The increased numbers followed regulations by Virginia, Maryland and the Potomac Fisheries Commission that reduced commercial crab harvests by 10 percent. Officials say that reduction helped rebuild the population.

The long, cold winter kept the numbers from being higher. The survey shows about 28 percent of all adult crabs in Maryland died due to the cold weather.

Officials say they'll continue to focus on protecting adult females and juvenile crabs and building up the female population. Juvenile crabs now comprise the majority of the crab stock.

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