For those eagerly awaiting summer crab feasts—and the watermen, crab pickers, and Bay restaurants whose livelihoods depend on them—this week’s news is a big blow.
The 2022 dredge survey, done at 1,500 sites in both the Maryland and Virginia sections of the Bay during the winter, finds the worst total crab abundance in the history of the survey.
The 2022 Baywide Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey is an annual estimate of the population in the Bay and its tributaries, in which the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) work together.
The total abundance of blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay in 2022 was 227 million crabs, the lowest number since the survey began in 1990. The number of juvenile crabs in 2022 was 101 million crabs. That’s slightly higher than the 86 million juvenile crabs estimated last year, but this still marks three years in a row below average.
The number of adult male crabs…