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New Targets For Crabs Mean Protections Remain

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Though there are more blue crabs than at any time since 1993, a NOAA assessment means limits will remain in place.
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Though there are more blue crabs than at any time since 1993, a NOAA assessment means limits will remain in place.

New federal targets for blue crabs mean crabbing limits in Maryland and Virginia will remain in place.

Until now, It was believed that blue crabs needed to number at least 200 million strong in the bay in order to weather harvesting and die offs during cold winters. But according to a new assessment from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that number should have taken into account the girls.

NOAA now says female crabs alone need to reach 215 million, and the total population should be around 415 million adult crabs in order for the species to remain healthy.

Right now there are only about 300 million, but that's more than at any time since 1993 and a significant improvement from a near population crash in 2007. The rebound had some calling for easing fishing limits, but the assessment means those limits will remain in place.

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