Frustrating News for Virginia’s Crabbers
In a study released on Tuesday, it was reported that the blue crab is making a huge population comeback in the Chesapeake Bay. While many are rejoicing the near doubling of the blue crab population, others have voice frustration with the findings of Tuesday’s report. Namely, Virginia crabbers have been the most outspoken.
The new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s report recommends further restrictions on Virginia crabbers. The main goal in introducing these heavier restrictions is, more specifically, to boost the population of female blue crabs. Three years ago, when tougher limitations were first imposed, the aim was to raise the female blue crab population to a solid 200 million. The report is now suggesting that this female population should be more than doubled, raising it to a substantial 415 million crabs.
Virginia crabbers have especially taken issue with this new proposal, stating that they are receiving unfair limitations compared to crabbers in Maryland. With news of all time highs for the crab population, these Virginia fishermen are pushing for a new dredgery to be opened for increased harvesting.
Although there is a great chance for increased revenue with the raising crab population, it is important to remember how close the crab population was to crashing in 2008. While the crab population is on the mend, it will still take more time to create a sustainable and more concrete population.
The frustration that Virginia crabbers are feeling is understandable, but it is imperative to keep the primary objective in mind: improving the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay. A loosening of the 2008 restrictions is pretty much out of the question for Virginia crabbers. Hopefully an agreement can be reached that will allow for a balance between the continued trend of an increasing crab population and increasing revenue for Virginia crabbers.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of members of the NDP Steering Committee.