WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today applauded the announcement that the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population has increased by 60 percent since last year and is at its highest total population since 1997.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) today released its 2009-2010 Bay-wide dredge survey. The survey found that the Bay’s blue crab population has increased from 400 million last year to 658 million in this year’s survey. In 2008, Maryland and Virginia took strong action to reduce harvest pressure on female crabs, which were estimated at historic lows in spawning stock.
“This is very good news for watermen and for those who are committed to restoring the health of the Bay. It shows that strong, positive action can bring about significant improvement to the Bay’s ecosystem,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “There is little doubt that a resurgence of the Bay’s aquatic life is closely linked to an overall restoration of the entire watershed, a goal that I am committed to achieving.”
In 2009, Senator Cardin introduced the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, S.1816, which would reduce pollution and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay through strong new enforcement tools and more than $1.5 billion in new grant authority.
In 2008, Senators Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and other members of the Maryland congressional delegation strongly supported Gov. Martin O’Malley’s request for a disaster declaration for the Chesapeake Bay blue crab. The declaration, which was granted, made Maryland’s watermen eligible for emergency disaster funding to ease the economic burden placed on the crabbing industry.