"Chesapeake Bay Crabs Are Making a Big Comeback"

"GRASONVILLE, MD. -- And now for something completely different: good news about the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake's blue crabs, in decline for a decade, are in the middle of an extraordinary comeback, officials in Maryland and Virginia said Wednesday. The estuary's crab population has more than doubled in two years, they said, reaching its highest level since 1997.

The chief reason, officials said, is a set of limits placed on the crab harvest in 2008. These were aimed at protecting more female crabs, which can produce millions of baby crabs apiece -- but not if they're turned into she-crab soup first.

These catch limits had a cost: They cut deeply into the income of some watermen and seafood dealers. But scientists said the crab is now an ecological success story, which stands out in the Chesapeake's grim history of over-fishing and pollution."

David A. Fahrenthold reports for the Washington Post April 15, 2010.

Friday, April 16, 2010