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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- Pollution and overfishing have caused devastating declines in Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, and the federal government has been undercutting state efforts to restore the bay by failing to enforce environmental laws, a conservation group said Monday.


The Environmental Protection Agency should impose a regulatory cap on the amount of pollution that can enter the nation's largest estuary and enforce the Federal Clean Water Act, the report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation concluded. Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania must also do more to control pollution from agricultural runoff, the report said.

"I think the most important thing right now is for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to do it's job," said William Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "That will help the states reinforce the efforts of the states."

The report, titled "Bad Water and the Decline of Blue Crabs in the Chesapeake Bay," cites pollution and overfishing- particularly of female blue crabs- as the two causes of the problem. While as many as 791 million blue crabs were estimated to live in the bay in 1990, their numbers plunged to about 260 million at the end of 2007.
 
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