Skip to comments.Chesapeake Bay crabs status uncertain
Posted on 10/12/2004 7:30:19 AM PDT by cogitator
Reports mixed on blue crabs
Biologist 'seriously concerned' with the bay's spawning stock; other studies are more hopeful
Chesapeake Bay blue crabs may be in worse trouble than previously imagined, according to Virginia Institute of Marine Science research into the survival rate of female crabs. But the data collected on crabs in the estuary do not all agree.
The institute's study of mature female crabs between November 2001 and October 2002 estimated that only two out of 100 survived the study year.
"This is one of the first times I'm seriously, seriously concerned with the spawning stock," said Rom Lipcius, a VIMS biologist and a principal investigator in the survey.
Other surveys in the bay show a more hopeful sign: The overall abundance of blue crabs improved in 2003, according to a Virginia, Maryland and federal panel of scientists that includes representatives from VIMS.
Derek Orner of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's bay office in Annapolis, Md., said the crab study fell to budget constraints and new research priorities in his agency's competitive grants program.
NOAA gave VIMS $396,850 over three years to underwrite the mortality study. The agency is now directing money to other issues. New species have emerged as funding priorities. Chief among them is the menhaden, a valuable industrial fish that is converted to fish meal and oil, and the ariakensis oyster.
Menhaden have gained a new profile amid concerns that they may no longer be abundant enough to serve as the main forage for striped bass and other predator fish in the bay. Interest in the ariakensis oyster, which is native to Asia, has grown as Virginia and Maryland consider it as a possible replacement for the bay's disease-ravaged native oyster.
(go to linked article to read the rest)
(Excerpt) Read more at timesdispatch.com ...
Crab status definite.
Ping ... you may have a crab shortage, or may not.
heh, heh, heh...
Narg! CRAB ENVY! I haven't had fresh crab since about 1990!
May or may not is right!!! They just don't know.
Years ago I learned the best way to determine the viability of a particular species was to speak directly with those that know them best.........the commercial fishing industry. Not the big fleet companies, but the local watermen. This is their bread and butter, the last thing on earth they want to see are depleted stocks.
My big fear with thee gloom and doom reports is they are used by opponents of the fishing industry to further tie the hands of the watermen. I saw it happen in the 80s to Maryland watermen and through the 80s and 90s to the Delaware watermen.
Just a couple of weeks ago that picture could have been of me!!! Some friends had a couple of crab pots in Chincoteague Bay and we had a veritable feast that night!!!!
I make a very simple, but extremely tasty, tomato based crab soup if anyone is interested in the recipe.
You poor deprived child.........you need to rectify that situation post-haste.
When I read the title to this thread all I could think of was: "Damn, more undecideds..."
"No shortage here..."
hehe... j/k I go down to Delaware once a year to get a bushel and a few pounds of shrimp steamed in old bay. get a bunch of friends, a case of cold beer, put out the newspapers(Sunday Times works great for this) get out the mallets and have a go at it.
Maybe Paris Hilton knows?
Well there are soft shell crabs.
OH they look so good a little old bay and beer and a touch of vinager, its making me want to go back to maryland, WAIT NEVER MIND.
I know their status when they are on the table in front of me ;). MmmMmm Good!
Thank you for supporting the waterman of Delaware. A lot of the guys catching those crabs are long time friends of mine!!!!
Absolutely THE best way to steam 'em up!!!!
We always have crab "races" outside the door near the grill.............the losers go into the pot first!!!!
I'm convinced that the Rockfish population has the most influence on the crab population in the Bay.
Extending Virginia's ban on the catch of mature sponge-females to include all sponge-females is one of the simplest ways to help the population. Maryland should also ban the import of all sponge-crabs.
I must admit to not being as well versed in Virginia's shell and fin-fish laws and regs as I am with Delaware's and to a lesser extent Maryland's.
Could you give me a quick explanation about "sponge-females" I am not at all familiar with the phrase?
I agree with you. There seems to be direct correlation between further restrictions on Rock catches to declines in crab harvests.
Sponge crabs are females with an external protusion of many thousands of eggs. In Maryland possession of them is illegal, unless you have a bill of sale proving they were imported from outside the state. In Virginia possession of mature sponge crabs is illegal, mature meaning the eggs are well developed and soon to hatch. Possession of immature sponge crabs is legal, however, immature meaning the eggs are new and not soon to hatch.
The maturity of the eggs is measured by their color. The eggs gradually turn from bright orange to dark brown. Virginia uses a color scale, numbered 1 to 15, with 1 being bright orange and immature and 15 being dark brown and very mature, to differentiate what is legal and illegal. Crabs that fall from 1-6 are legal to possess.
Thank you very much. You explanation is exremely clear and understandable.
My relationship with shell and fin fish laws and regs are far more political than biological. but the only way to understand and learn is to ask questions.
Again, my thanks for your explanation.
I wish I could ... I think I'll give up drinking (again) and start a "Seafood Savings Fund." Then when I get enough money, I'll buy some real frest seafood!
I know I'm one of the lucky ones being in such close proximity to the fishing villages on both the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. So I will be a good girl and not gloat.
I have the choice of fishing, crabbing and clamming myself, or supporting the local economy by buying from local waterman. My 2 favorite fish markets are owned by fishermen. The one gal even calls me when certain things come in!!! (welll maybe I'm gloating just a little)
The C-Street Saloon and the Crab Claw in St. Michaels are two of my favorite places on earth. Definitely bring your appetite to the Crab Claw.
Less than Bohdacious news... :(
I haven't been to St. Michael's in years and years.
Yes, you're gloating!
Try eating freshly-harvested black walnuts.
No self respecting resident of DelMarVa uses a Mallet to smash crabs.
One of the first things I learned to do when I first moved to Delaware was how to properly pick a crab, no mallet involved even for the claws, just fingers and a knife.
You can always figure out tourists by the way they pulverize the crabs with the mallets!!!!
Remember Frostie Rootbeer out of Baltimore?
Or Marvels Gingerale?
Frostie is being made again by an outfit in Texas. Whenever I crack one open, the smell takes me back to summers playing in the woods in Easton Md.
I don't even have mallets at my house. I normally give the claws to my friends anyways. I prefer fin meat, of course. Sorry to leave you out of my statement. You are in the VA part of DelMarVa correct?
Most of the family is there. I'm the oddball that moved to New Mexico. It's nice to visit, but I don't miss the humidity.
There is actually one mallet in my house - someone gave it to me years ago as a joke.......my daughter uses it as a drumstick!!!!
I love crabs, claws and all!!! but I'm with you, backfin is my favorite!!!
You are correct, I am in the VA part of DelMarVa, 8 miles from the Maryland line. We've been here about 18 months. I spent almost 21 years living in Delaware. In fact this month marks 22 years living on DelMarVa.
I arrived in Dover, fresh out of broadcasting school 10 days before the 1982 elections. I had 1 week to learn as much as I could about Delaware politics because I was going to be on the air live all night election night!!!!
It was my days in radio news that got me interested in the plight of independent watermen and the sometimes unreasonable restrictions placed upon them.
I was working at a station in Caroline County when Maryland imposed the ban on rockfish. We all really thought there was going to be armed conflicts on the Bay.
The independant commercial fishing industry is among the most misunderstood businesses I can think of.
Ah, come on, the humidity is just in your imagination...........ROFL!!!!!!
just kidding with you.
It's not work; it is a social experience. Pass the beer.
But I beleive the Blue-Fin has been over harvested throughout the years. Deltaville VA learned. lol
Male crabs can withstand fresher water than females, so you will still find crabs but the amount of crabs the following year can be affected by large influxes of fresh water into the bay. The females will not move up into the far reaches of the bay like the Wye, Chester, Tred Avon, Severn, and Magothy rivers to mate.
I guess I am only sorta right. Thanks for the link so that I may speak correctly the next time.
You are toooooo much, but correct
"I have the choice of fishing, crabbing and clamming myself, or supporting the local economy by buying from local waterman. My 2 favorite fish markets are owned by fishermen. The one gal even calls me when certain things come in!!! (welll maybe I'm gloating just a little)"
Stop gloating!!!! I live by the Jersey shore and I enjoy surf fishing. As a kid, I used to go clamming in Brooklyn. I still make that trek down the Turnpike for my blue claws.
Some things you can never give up.
LOL!!!!! I like gloating!!!
I never went clamming in Brooklyn, but I remember all the trips to Sheepshead Bay when the fishing boats were coming in and my parents and grandparents buying the fresh catch right off the boats, and we often went fishing with a neighbor in Jamaica Bay.
We love surf fishing and do it fairly often.........but there is definitely a reason it is called "fishing" and not "catching"!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't live on the water, but am close enough to plenty of it.........I could never live where I wasn't close to water. As you say, somethings you can never give up.
I grew up in Sheepshead bay. Use to fish for snapper and porgies off the piers. Late in the summer I would go blue fishing on the Betty W. They would let me fish for free if I helped clean the boat when they came in.
Jamaica Bay had great flounder fishing. Double headers all day.
Think I will take my son this weekend.
I grew up in Flatbush!!!! We had a cabana at Breezy Point for years.
Snapper and porgies - that exactly what we fished for.
I've got to pick up a children's sized life jacket this week so that hubby and a buddy can take our daughter fishing on a boat for the very first time. She's 6 and loves to fish, has all her own gear even.
My oldest is 11. I took her flounder fishing about a year ago. Took the day off from work.
We get on the boat, it is a little chilly and drizzling. We get out to the grounds and my daughter is all upset because she is wet and cold and wants to go home. All these old guys are looking at me like, "either you throw her overboard or we will."
Well my daughter catches a fish. Then another and another. Then she catches one that breaks the rod. Then another.
At the end of the day, she winds up with cash for first fish, high hook and pool winner. The mate doesn't even throw another fish on the scale, my kid has a three pound flounder. Biggest dang flounder I ever saw. Old guys on the boat now have my kid at the front of the boat, giving her soda and cookies and stuff, treating her like their grandkid.
She took her winnings and on the way home we stopped off and she bought a game boy. We stunk like fish in the toy store and were loving every minute of it.
What a great story!!!!!!!!
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