Maryland 2011 Commercial Crab Limits Increased

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries service will increase the commercial crab daily catch limits for female crabs this fall. DNR fisheries managers made the decision after they determined that the increase will have no negative impact on rebuilding the blue crab population.

For 2011 DNR will increase daily female catch limits between September 1 and November 10. A crabber with a Limited Crab Catcher License will be allowed to land 12 bushels a day; an increase of two bushels over the same period last year. Crabbers holding more extensive licenses will see comparable increases based on their license levels.

This decision comes on the heels of the 2011 Blue Crab Winter Dredge survey, which showed that the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population is at its second highest level since 1997 and well above the target for the third year in a row, setting the stage for a Bay-wide recovery. The results of the survey indicate

that management measures put into place regulating the female blue crab population in 2008 are continuing to pay dividends and harvest levels have been below the established 46 percent target level for two consecutive years.

All other commercial and recreational crabbing regulations for 2011, in both the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s coastal bays, will remain the same. Commercial crabbers in the Chesapeake Bay will continue to abide by strict daily female catch limits, and the commercial harvest of female crabs is prohibited June 1-15 and November 11- December 15.

source: MD DNR

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