photo by flickr user bob.fornal
The blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay is increasing. Yes, you heard that right, increasing. According to the Washington Post, the blue crab population increased by 43 percent. Scientists attribute some of the increase to fishery management, including cutting back on catching females and banning "dredge" fishery methods. They warned that while the news is encouraging, "blue crabs are a species prone to explosive swings in population, so there is no guarantee that the growth will continue." In other words: don't crack open the champagne just yet. The restrictions need to continue, and once we have an upward trend over a longer periods, we can feel better about the future of blue crabs.
In terms of sustainability, right now blue crabs are listed as "good alternative" on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Seafood list. This means "that they are an option, but that there are concerns with how they’re caught or farmed — or with the health of their habitat due to other human impacts." In other words: eat them on a special occasion, be especially thankful, and send a check to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.