Virginia's crabbing ban goes into effect Dec. 15 this year, moving closer into mating season.
For the fifth straight year, Virginia is closing its waters to crabbing for the winter - but the commonwealth is slightly relaxing that ban this year.
Every winter, blue crabs migrate -- a veritable New York Marathon underwater. Hundreds of millions of them move down toward the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to breed. And that's where Virginia fisherman used to harvest them.
But when the population crashed, people realized that catching them while they were mating was really like kicking them when they're down. If one kills a pregnant female, he's basically killing all its offspring, too.
Consequently, Virginia's Marine Resources Commission has banned the winter dredge harvest for the past five years. The ban continues this year as well, but they're starting the ban two weeks late -- Dec. 15 -- because Hurricane Sandy messed up the fishing season.
They'll compensate by tightening harvest limits in 2013 instead.