Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Virginia Journal of Science
It is a matter of common knowledge among conservationists that the blue crab supply of the Chesapeake is rapidly declining, being reduced from a level of about 17 millions in 1931 to that of about 10 million crabs in 1937. (Md. Rept. 1937). Numerous explanations have been advanced to account for this decline. One outstanding reason is the taking of such large numbers of "sponge" (berried) crabs and mated female crabs, a practice which undoubtedly reduces the potential supply of young crabs for the ensuing year.
Another menace to the survival of the blue crab lies in the way in which "soft crabs" are handled in the industry. The current methods of transporting and holding crabs on shedding floats are responsible for the loss of a very significant percentage of the total numbers taken. From a standpoint of practical conservation, no single one of our Chesapeake commercial fisheries merits more immediate attention than the blue crab fishery.
This paper embodies the results of observations made on the current practices followed by the industry in handling crabs, and the effect of these practices on survival rate from a conservation viewpoint.
Virginia Fisheries Laboratory Contribution No. 2
Newcombe, Curtis L. and Gray, Ellen H., Observations on the Conservation of the Chesapeake Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun (1941). Virginia Journal of Science, 2(1), 1-10.