Chesapeake blue crab population grows 35 percent

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(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.

Officials plan to explore whether the results should prompt regulators to loosen harvest restrictions or lengthen the crabbing season. Still, they noted the results shouldn't eliminate concerns for the health of the bay and blue crab reproduction.

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