NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Marine officials in Virginia are weighing plans to reduce the harvest of female blue crabs.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will take public comment Tuesday on a proposal to reduce the harvest of female blue crabs by 10 percent over the next year beginning July 5.
Officials say the move would help increase spawning potential and help reverse the depleted condition of female blue crabs.
An annual survey released in May showed the number of spawning-age female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay dropped below the minimum safe level of 70 million and are depleted.
While the number of juvenile crabs increased and last year's harvest remained at a safe level for the sixth consecutive year, the total number of crabs remains comparatively low at about 297 million.