Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



UMCES technical series ; no. TS-487-05.


The blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is an icon for the Chesapeake Bay region. The commercial fisheries for blue crab in the Bay remain one of the most valuable fishery sectors in the Bay. Ecologically, blue crab is an important component of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Thus, sound management to ensure the sustainability of this resource is critical.

The first bay wide assessment for blue crab was undertaken in 1995 and completed in 1997. It concluded that the stock was moderately to fully exploited and at average levels of abundance. Subsequent to this assessment concerns over the continuing status of blue crab were raised because of declines in abundance and harvests. In response to concerns from stakeholders, a Bi-State Blue Crab Advisory Committee was established in 1996. Work by this committee lead to the establishment in 2001 of biomass and exploitation thresholds and an exploitation target reference points. Since 2001, the status of the blue crab stock has been updated annually and its status determined relative to the reference points. Over the ensuing years, the approach to determining the status of blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay has been modified, but a new inclusive assessment has not been conducted.


Blue crab -- Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.) -- Population



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