Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Change is in the air

As the cool breezes of fall blow into the Chesapeake region, I'm excited for the changing seasons and for upcoming changes to the Blue Crab Blog. You've probably noticed my posts have slowed down a lot in the last year. After considering shutting down the blog entirely, I've decided to shift away from a sole focus on blue crabs to the broader range of fisheries and marine conservation topics I'm now working on. You'll still find a good bit of blue crab news here, but also posts on sharks and rays, river herring, oysters, biodiversity, and long-term studies of coastal ecosystems. My goal is to produce at least one new blog post at the beginning of each month, with additional news items sprinkled in here and there. The first post is nearly ready and will highlight shark and ray research at Smithsonian. I hope you like the changes and keep coming back!

-Matt Ogburn

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Spawning Stock is Highest Recorded!

Results of the annual blue crab population survey in Chesapeake Bay are out and there's some great news and some not so good news. The 254 million spawning age females (this year's reproductive stock) are the most recorded in the survey. On the other hand, juvenile numbers are half what they were a year ago.

The figure above is from Maryland Department of Natural Resources Winter Dredge Survey page.

You can read more about the survey results here.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Maryland officials hint at "customer service" approach to management

At a hearing this week called to address the firing of Maryland's 28-year blue crab fishery manager, officials described a shift to a "customer service" approach to management. It remains unclear how much of a shift this will represent from the science-based management approach of the previous administration. Read more about the hearing in this Baltimore Sun article.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Maryland's Governor Hogan fires blue crab manager

From the Bay Journal:

Maryland’s veteran manager of the state’s blue crab fishery was fired this week after a group of watermen complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about a catch regulation that they contend hurts their livelihood — but that scientists say is needed to ensure a sustainable harvest. 
Brenda Davis, crab program manager for the Department of Natural Resources and a 28-year state employee, said she was informed Tuesday that her services were no longer needed.

In an interview Wednesday, Davis said Fisheries Director Dave Blazer gave no reason for her summary dismissal. But it came after Hogan met last week with about a dozen Dorchester County watermen who had been pressing Davis and the DNR for a change in a long-time regulation setting the minimum catchable size for crabs. 
“I was totally shocked. It was totally unexpected,” Davis said yesterday. “I was really surprised and a bit disappointed given my time there that re-assignment wasn’t an option, because I think I’m going to be short on being able to do full retirement.” 
A spokeswoman for the governor declined to comment. A DNR spokesman likewise said officials would not comment on a personnel matter.
Read the rest of the article here.