Maryland Crab Season Looks Good So Far
Apr 19th - 10:06pm
EASTON, Md. (AP) - Thanks to a warm spring, Maryland crabbers say they're having a strong early season. The bounty matches predictions that crab season would start strong.
"It's not surprising in years when you have a warm burst," said Lynn Fegley, director of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Blue Crab Program.
The state will have an official report on the April harvest at the end of May, she said. Larry Simns, president of the Maryland Waterman's Association, told The (Easton) Star-Democrat that crabbers are catching crabs that bedded down last fall and have been stirred by warm spring temperatures. â€œThat's what we're harvesting now _ the ones that were left over from the fall," Simns said.
Russell Dize, owner of RDS Seafood in Tilghman, told the newspaper crab harvests were up across the bay. "And it wasn't only in one place _ it was everywhere." Dize said. Watermen said they expect a harvest similar to last year, about 32.3 million pounds.
"It should be a good crab season all year, unless we have real bad, hot weather," Simns said. "But there's a lot of weather variables that could change that. You're at the mercy of the weather."
Hot and dry weather could cause the crabs to hibernate, or torrentially heavy rains could force crabs to move to different areas. "So, you know, life's a gamble when you're a crabber, or a waterman," Simns said.
The Stock Assessment of the Blue Crab in Chesapeake Bay 2005, a report released in early April, indicates that the blue crab population, while much smaller than in previous decades, is no longer regarded as overfished, and may even be slowly regenerating. Thomas Miller of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory told the newspaper that another season like last year could signify a population increase for blue crabs in the bay. "There is some recovery going on in the stock," Miller said.
Information from: The (Easton, Md.) Star Democrat
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.