"Scientists on the latest dredge survey said factors like pollution, predation and a sex imbalance in the blue crab population could be among the factors contributing to the decline."
"For a third straight year, the number of crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has dropped, this time to a record low. And even the scientists who worked on the most recent winter dredge survey, which measures the population, grow wistful when they consider the colorful crustacean so central to Baltimore and Maryland culture.
“It’s something you do in summer. You pick crabs and spend an extended meal with wooden mallets and cold beer and tell jokes and reminisce,” said Thomas Miller, professor of fisheries science at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, who has been part of the survey team since its inception 33 years ago. “All of the things that we appreciate with family and friends, it happens around a crab feast.”
Carried out jointly by Maryland’s department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Marine Resource Commission, the dredge survey released last month put the estimate for the Bay’s prized critter at 227 million—the lowest in the survey’s history. The population has declined for female, male and juvenile crabs, with the number of adult male crabs also at an all-time low since the survey began."