Thursday, May 16, 2013

Maryland Female Crab Harvest to be Reduced 20-40%

Maryland Department of Natural Resources has is reducing the female crab harvest by 20-40% effective today in an attempt to increase reproduction. This move is in response to the low crab population estimate from the 2013 Baywide Winter Dredge Survey (see survey results here). Read more about the proposed harvest changes in Maryland and Virginia at the Baltimore Sun.

The proposed harvest restrictions are somewhat counter-intuitive due to the significant increase in female abundance this year over 2012 Winter Dredge Survey estimates. It is not terribly surprising that juvenile abundance was low this year given the small number of females recorded in 2012. What would have happened if females had been given more protection in 2012 when their numbers were very low? Could the 2013 juvenile year-class have been bigger if the proposed protections for females had been enacted last year?

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