Fishery Management Plans and Agreements
The first Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan was adopted in 1989 and strived to provide long-term protection for the blue crab stock. The plan also helped the Department focus management strategies for blue crabs. In 1997, a new Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan was adopted that remains in place today. The 1997 plan was amended in 2003 and 2012 to incorporate additional management strategies.
In addition to the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan, Maryland is a partner in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement that was signed in 2014. The agreement incorporates two outcomes specifically for the protection of blue crabs as an important species ecologically and economically in the region. These outcomes address blue crab abundance and management. Progress towards these outcomes can be tracked on the Chesapeake Bay Program website.
Health of the Population
The health of natural resource populations, like the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, are determined through stock assessments. The most recent stock assessment for Chesapeake Bay blue crabs was conducted in 2011 and recommended a female-specific management framework. This stock assessment was updated in 2019 and determined the stock was not depleted and overfishing was not occurring. This means the population is healthy and the current fishery pressure is sustainable.
To view the updated stock assessment and other documents please visit our Reports and Documents page.