Virginia crab management committee recommends fall, spring catch limit increase
A state committee on crab management is recommending increases to crab catch limits this fall and next spring but keeping in place the summer reductions instituted last year after surveys found the population had plummeted.
The newest proposals follow the results of the 2023 Bay-wide Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which found that the number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay increased from 227 million in 2022 to 323 million in 2023. Improvements were seen across the board among adult males and females, as well as among juveniles. However, the juvenile numbers still remained among the six lowest recorded in the 34 years of the Winter Dredge Survey.
In Virginia, crab harvesting limits are set based on the size of the catching operation. Because the catch limits put in place in 2022 resulted in larger operations losing a greater percentage of their allowable catch, Virginia Marine Resources Commission staff recommended the new limits be adjusted to increase the amount of crabs they can catch.
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