blue crabs

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HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - An annual survey has found a record-high number of spawning-age female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay and predicts another year of improved harvests.

The results of the survey conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Maryland Department of Natural Resources were released Wednesday.

They show the total population of blue crabs fell this year by 18 percent. But the female spawning stock was the highest ever recorded in the survey's 28-year history.

creative commons

BALTIMORE (AP) - The levels of dissolved oxygen within the Chesapeake Bay plummeted in July after a promising start to the summer.

The Baltimore Sun reports that state environmental officials are blaming a recent heat wave for the decline since warm water holds less oxygen than cold water.

The Department of Natural Resources wrote in a statement that a lack of winds also prevented surface oxygen from mixing with bottom waters to increase the oxygen levels.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The results of a survey of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population suggest a good summer for local crabs.
 
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says its annual dredge survey in Maryland and Virginia shows there are more than 550 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, the fourth highest level in two decades.
 
That number is a 35 percent increase in the crab population compared with last year, which was a 38 percent increase over 2014's results.
 
Officials credit favorable weather and previous harvest restrictions.
 

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Fans of the Chesapeake Bay now have an online tool to track the progress of the estuary's restoration.

Called ChesapeakeProgress, the website gives visitors an overview of the multi-state effort to clean up the bay after decades of neglect. The site shows goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement involving six states and Washington, D.C.

The agreement is aimed at limiting urban and rural pollution from flowing into the bay. The bay's water has become so polluted, vast areas are called "dead zones" because they are devoid of life.

creative commons

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials are eyeing changes to Delaware's conch fishing rules to keep commercial fishermen on equal footing with their New Jersey counterparts.

Officials planned to hold a hearing Thursday evening on lowering the minimum size limits for licensed knobbed conch dredgers.

Currently, Delaware requires a six-inch minimum size limit, while New Jersey has a five-inch minimum. Officials say that poses a potential economic disadvantage to Delaware conch harvesters fishing the shared waters of the Delaware Bay.

CBF Website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A new report says Chesapeake Bay water quality has improved, but there's been a decline in fisheries.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation released its biennial State of the Bay report Monday. It gave the nation's largest estuary a D-plus grade overall. That's unchanged from 2012.

The report cites improvements in water clarity, oysters and underwater grasses. But declines were seen in scores for blue crabs and rockfish.

CBF President William Baker took special aim at the Eastern Shore where phosphorus levels have actually gone up in some areas.