Blue Crabs in Chesapeake Benefitting From Climate Change

A study published in late July found that because climate change will shave a few weeks off winters in the mid-Atlantic, baby crabs will stand a better chance of surviving the colder season since food will be available to them sooner and thus they are less likely to starve. The Chesapeake Bay’s waters are expected to become as warm as those in Newport News, Virginia or even the Outer Banks of North Carolina and as they do, the researchers estimate that nearly 100% of the juvenile crabs will make it through the winter months, according to The Washington Post, which is good news for the fishery worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Why This Matters: This study demonstrates the climate phenomenon that some species will fare better than others in warming scenarios, but that still may require strong management for the blue crab fishery to ensure it remains sustainably fished. And there is also concern about other “winners” like crab predators that will relocate from the south or the flesh-eating bacteria that thrives in warm brackish water that we reported on in July, and “losers” like the clams that are a major food source for the crabs.   So we shouldn’t go “counting our crabs before they hatch” just yet.

Crabs Already Making a Comeback

  • The research points to increases in the crab population starting in about 20 years if warming continues as it has – they studied water temperature records over the last 100 years to gauge the warming trajectory.
  • This year’s survey of the Bay’s population showed that the number was more than 600 million most likely because of improvements in water quality and reductions in overfishing.
  • The population was down to only about 250 million about 12 years ago, so it rebounded quickly.
  • Even with a robust supply, The Washington Post also reported that the price of crabs remains high because many of them are not old enough to catch or are females that are thrown back so they can reproduce.
  • Strong management is keeping overfishing from occurring, which also holds the prices steady and relatively high.

Up Next

One Strong Thing: The Game Changers Tells Story of Exceptional Athletes Who Gave Up Meat

What do James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokavic, and Chris Paul have in common?  They are the producers of a documentary film called “The Game Changers” that sets out to show that one can be an exceptional athlete on a solely plant-based diet without any meat protein.  The film tells the […]

Continue Reading 156 words
New York To Bid Foie Gras Adieu

New York To Bid Foie Gras Adieu

The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to ban the French delicacy foie gras from being sold in restaurants, stores, and farmer’s markets because it is made by force-feeding ducks and geese to fatten up their livers in a way that some consider the “most inhumane process in the commercial food industry,” according to The […]

Continue Reading 152 words
Cranberry Farmers in Massachusetts Giving Thanks for Solar Opportunity

Cranberry Farmers in Massachusetts Giving Thanks for Solar Opportunity

Cranberries, well cranberry prices actually, are underwater — today it costs $35 to produce a barrel of the tart red fruit, but in 2018 that barrel sold for only $25 according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.  Now some cranberry producers in Massachusetts, the second-largest grower after Wisconsin, want to do something that has not been tried before at scale — build solar panels above the bogs they harvest each fall.  They hope to build solar arrays high enough off the ground and in spaced-out clusters that allow for cranberries to be safely grown and harvested underneath.

Continue Reading 248 words