crab population

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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.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

BALTIMORE (AP) - Officials say there is a smaller than normal "dead zone" in the Chesapeake Bay, as well as clearer water, more bay grasses and an increase in the crab population.

According to a joint forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, the bay's low-oxygen dead zone is expected to be 1.58 cubic miles this year. That's about 10 percent less than the long-term average of 1.8 cubic miles dating from 1985.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - An annual survey by marine officials shows a significant increase in the number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission says the overall bay-wide crab population increased from 297 million crabs to 411 million crabs, a 38 percent increase. The increased numbers followed regulations by Virginia, Maryland and the Potomac Fisheries Commission that reduced commercial crab harvests by 10 percent. Officials say that reduction helped rebuild the population.