Blue Crab Disappearing From Chesapeake Bay

Longtime fishermen lament lost way of life
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2008 3:05 PM CDT
Paul Kellam flips two Maryland blue crabs over to show the difference between a female, left, and a male, in Ridge, Md., on Tuesday, June 24, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – Overfishing and water pollution have put the Chesapeake Bay's signature blue crab on the brink—along with fishermen who have long depended on it. Stocks are down 65% since 1990, the AP reports, as officials in Maryland and Virginia struggle to enact a patchwork of laws to reduce the harvest, control waterfront development and provide help for struggling watermen—though many think it's too late.

"I want to make a living on the water," says one 19-year-old worker on a crab rig. "But there ain't no future in it. Everybody knows that." The crab appears headed the way of the Chesapeake Bay oyster, all but vanished from the nation's largest estuary. "It's looking worse every year," said one74-year-old. "I don't know what the solution would be."