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Survey shows significant drop in blue crabs in bay

Friday - 4/19/2013, 1:59pm  ET

BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- A survey of crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has found a significant drop in the overall blue crab population. On a positive note, the number of spawning-age females increased by 52 percent.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources released the 2013 winter dredge survey Friday. It found that total number of blue crabs fell from 765 million to 300 million.

Lynn Fegley, a DNR official, says it's impossible to pin down a single reason after last year brought the highest crab reproduction in the survey's 24 years. Fegley says an influx of red drum, which eat young crabs, could be one of them.

Fegley says as a result of the survey, officials will be working with the crabbing industry to reduce bushel limits by about 10 percent this year.


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