Mid-Atlantic
(Chris D. Dollar)

VA - Virginia wants more restrictions on Chesapeake Bay crab harvest

Virginia is proposing tighter regulations on the crab harvest after a survey showed the population of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay is the lowest in the survey’s 33-year history.

Virginia is proposing tighter regulations on the crab harvest after a survey showed the population of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay is the lowest in the survey’s 33-year history.

Virginia’s crab fishery is a $35 million-a-year business for more than 2,700 watermen, mainly on the Peninsula and the Middle Peninsula.

While the Virginia Marine Resources Commission wants to keep the hard crab pot season the same this year and next, it is proposing the season for all other legal gear next year to be 30 days shorter, from April 15 to October 15, with the season to start 15 days later in 2023.

Daily catch limits for hard crab pot licensees will be reduced in October and November by between 20% to 43% from last year’s level.

“The proposed changes to the regulations are in response to the poor numbers observed by the Bay wide Winter Dredge Survey,” said Pat Geer, chief of fisheries management for VMRC and chair the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, the body that makes science-based recommendations for managing the fishery.

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