Maryland's Chesapeake Bay blue crab population grows 60 percent from last year, survey finds

Maryland's Chesapeake Bay blue crab population increased by 60 percent from last year, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Monday.

Hogan announced the results of the 2019 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which estimated the Bay-wide blue crab total population to be 594 million.

"Today's results are further proof and a shining example that our efforts to protect Maryland's blue crab population, while ensuring the health of our state's most important natural asset, have been successful," Hogan said in part of a written statement.

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Officials said the rise in adult blue crabs was higher than anticipated given a poor influx of juveniles in 2017 and 2018.

According to the governor's office, the adult female population grew 29 percent from 2018 and the adult male population increased 38 percent.

The juvenile crab population also increased from 167 million to 324 million, according to officials.

"The female abundance of blue crabs is close to our target and the juvenile population is above average," said Natural Resources Fisheries Monitoring and Assessment Director Michael Luisi in a written statement. "We expect a lot of variability in the blue crab population, and taking a conservative approach offers stability for the fisheries in the face of swings in abundance."

Environmentalists said that mild winter temperatures also helped increase both juvenile and adult blue crab survival rates.