From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website:
"Winter Crab Dredge Survey Results to be Released Early-May
DNR and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have conducted the primary assessment of the Chesapeake Bay’s Blue Crab population annually since 1990. The survey employs crab dredges to sample blue crabs at 1,500 sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay from December through March. Sampling during winter when blue crabs are usually buried in the mud and stationary, allows scientists to develop, with good precision, estimates of the number of crabs present in the Bay.
After review of the survey results, the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee issues its annual Blue Crab Advisory Report, which helps Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission determine whether management measures are providing adequate conservation for the number of Blue Crabs estimated to be in the Bay during any given year. This ensures that the Blue Crab harvest stays in balance with the population and maintains the strength of the joint management system.
Beginning this year, the preliminary survey results will be released in early May to allow more adequate time for checking data, combining the data sets from Virginia and Maryland, and conducting the analyses that produce the Committee’s final stock assessment, which will be completed later in the month.
Learn more at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/crab/dredge.asp"
This delay from April to May is good news, as it should allow time for the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee (CBSAC) to review and interpret the results before they are released to the public. In prior years, many unsubstantiated explanations for declines in the crab population appeared in the media before CBSAC was able to review the data. Hopefully, a more considered approach will limit confusion about the status of the Chesapeake blue crab population.