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Maryland Blue Crab Numbers Are Down But Pollution Control is Up

It's no secret that Marylanders love to see crab on the menu, but according to the Department of Natural Resources, their numbers have gone down 60 percent in recent years.
HAGERSTOWNMD - It's no secret that Marylanders love to see crab on the menu, but according to the Department of Natural Resources, their numbers have gone down 60 percent in recent years.

So Washington County Commissioners teamed up to stencil storm drains with an important message to protect our water.

"This water goes right into one of our most favorite creeks, the Antietam Creek. It's important for people to know that we need to keep that creek clean and recreationally positive, as well as keeping things from going too far down into the Bay," said Ruth Anne Callaham, Washington County Commissioner. 

In its annual Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, the DNR found that young crabs dropped off the most because of more Red Drum fish predators, and when there are a lot of juvenile crabs together they often eat each other.

"Everybody loves a soft-crab, even another crab," laughs Brenda Davis, Blue Crab Program Manager with the DNR.

The DNR says pollution plays an indirect role in killing crab by stunting underwater plant growth, making it harder for young crabs to hide.

"There are certainly fewer crabs around, like in the CarolinasTexas and Louisiana that Marylandtends to get crabs from. So it would not surprise me if prices were higher this year," said Davis.

Chic's Seafood in Hagerstown says Blue Crab is running $205 a bushel, up from $175 last year; but the DNR says there is hope on the way.

"We have a reasonably good chance of the population coming back next year," said Davis.

With an increase in the amount adult female crabs, bushel prices could be back to normal next year.
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