Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Special Reports in Applied Marine Science and Ocean Engineering (SRAMSOE) No.347


In the period 1880 to 1940. the blue crab fisheries of Chesapeake Bay evolved from a relati\·ely small industry to one having a significant economic impact on watennen, processors and shippers, and the coastal communities, and the need for studied legislation and administration of the industry. The growth of the fishery resulted also in a need for well thought out science based on legislation and administrati011 of the fishery. This text examines whether any of several variables had effects on the stocks and the successes or failures of the fisheries. with the aim of more infom1ed planning of scientific studies, and recommendations to administrators. The many changes after 1940. beginning with the establishment of a sununer sanctuary in the southern end of the bay, the invention and extensive use of the wired crab pot, the advent of \V\VII and major changes in the size of the workforce, the availability of landings and effon data obtained first by the federal government and later by the states. and catch and hiological data obtained by independent investigators, introduced a new sec of variables to examine for their potential effects on che stock. Those changes require a major effort in an:ilysis. which must be deferred until the present text is completed. However. some review of the fisher-ies after l 940 has been included here to provide clarity and continuity, and whether later knowledge could contribute to a. better interpretation of the effects of the many variables on stock success. Knowledge and the fisheries did not stop in 1940.



Historical, Policy, Fisheries