Chesapeake Blue Crabs in Decline

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
31 December 2008, at 12:00am

US - The Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population has been devastated by pollution, overfishing and lax federal control, a US environmental group said.

The US Environmental Protection Agency, charged with safeguarding the natural environment, has failed to impose a regulatory cap on the amount of pollution entering the bay and to enforce the Clean Water Act, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation said.

The foundation said in October that it intended to sue the agency for failing to fulfill its obligation to reduce pollution in the nation's largest estuary, famous for its blue crabs.

An EPA spokesman did not return a phone call seeking a comment on the report.

The foundation also cited overfishing of crabs as a major factor in the blue crab's decline but theorized a healthier bay would produce more crabs and, in turn, reduce the need for fishing reductions, The Sun of Baltimore reported.

The bay's crab population decreased to 260 million in 2007 from 791 million in 1990, costing Maryland and Virginia about $640 million from 1998 to 2006, the report said.