April 19, 2013

Feeling crabby?

This week has given us many sad moments, beginning with the Boston Marathon bombings and continuing to a virtual lock down in Boston as I write this.

Now it is bad news from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission about the Chesapeake Bay crab population. It seems that is is down dramatically from a year ago. Total crab numbers dropped from about 765 million last year to about 300 million, largely because the number of juvenile crabs fell from nearly 600 million last year – a record high -- to 111 million in 2013.

Why? The water quality doesn't help the crabs, and the underwater grasses have decreased to their lowest level in 25 years, except in the James River. So the baby crabs have fewer hiding places. But the real culprits may be baby drum fish who like crabs as much as I do.

So prepare for fewer crab cakes this summer.