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Blue crab fishing and harvesting have held an important place in the history and economics of Maryland for generations. But the ups and downs of the crab fishery have put a strain on those working the water.
Maryland Sea Grant Extension conducts studies and public outreach to support a sustainable crab fishery in Maryland. We work to help conserve the Bay’s crab population but also the livelihood of Chesapeake watermen and crab processors.
With that in mind, Extension specialists launched an innovative program that has helped support the recent recovery of the Bay’s crab population while also securing opportunities for watermen to earn money for their harvests.
We collaborated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help design a state program to buy unused commercial fishing licenses for blue crabs. The goal was to limit the number of part-time watermen returning to the water to harvest crabs. The goal was to control potential future fishing pressure on these animals and also help to keep market prices stable.
Through this program:
Learn more about this project in "The Value of Crabbing," an article in Chesapeake Quarterly, Maryland Sea Grant’s magazine.
See more information from Maryland Sea Grant about blue crabs on the Bay.