Governor Larry Hogan has announced that the results of the 2019 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey show the Bay-wide blue crab population increased 60 percent from last year, to an estimated total population of 594 million crabs.
"We are proud of our administration’s strong record of skilled environmental stewardship, which begins with safeguarding the Chesapeake Bay," said Governor Hogan. "Today’s results are further proof and a shining example that our efforts to protect Maryland's blue crab population, while ensuring the health of our state’s most important natural asset, have been successful."
Ahead of the announcement, Governor Hogan went to Mike’s Crab House in Riva, where he and First Lady Yumi Hogan enjoyed their first crabs of the season.
The rise in adult abundance of blue crabs was higher than anticipated given a poor influx of juveniles in 2017 and 2018. This is a sign that blue crab management has been successful at allowing more crabs to reach the spawning stock.
The adult female population climbed to 190 million, a 29 percent gain from 2018 and the adult male population increased to 80 million or 38 percent. Mild winter temperatures also helped increase both juvenile and adult blue crab overwintering survival rates.
In 2018, Bay-wide harvest was 55 million pounds, which is similar to the 54 million pounds harvested in 2017.