Blue crab population jumps

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The Chesapeake Bay’s adult blue crab population increased 43 percent over last year after strict harvesting guidelines were implemented, according to a study.

“This is terrific news and a great first step, but this does not mean the problem is solved,’’ Governor Tim Kaine said. “This scientific survey clearly shows we are on the right path but we need to continue our conservation efforts to rebuild this environmentally and economically vital species. I want to thank our crab industry for their support and endurance through these difficult times.”

Last year, Kaine and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley limited crab harvesting and eliminated winter dredging. The study, conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, showed that the population of adult female crabs had almost doubled and male crabs had increased 50 percent.

Juvenile levels remained the same, although are likely to increase in next year’s study because of the increased number of female crabs this year.

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