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

Super Bowl Anti-Plant-Based Meat Ad Is Deceptive

The Super Bowl is known as much for its advertisements as for the game itself.  This year as people watched the big game with a hamburger in hand, The Center for Consumer Freedom, a conservative front group for the beef industry, aired a highly deceptive ad that, according to James Hamblin of The Atlantic, was intended to “scare people about plant-based meats.”

Why This Matters:  Clearly the culture war over meat is heating up, which is unfortunate since this should be an issue of personal choice.

Continue Reading 476 words
How Safe Is Your Salad?  FDA Not Ready For Outbreaks According to New Investigative Report

How Safe Is Your Salad? FDA Not Ready For Outbreaks According to New Investigative Report

The Boston Globe and NBC News did an in-depth investigation of the E. coli outbreaks of 2018 and found that there are serious issues with the FDA’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to outbreaks of this potentially deadly illness because the antiquated system the agency has to trace the source of contamination takes so long that by the time it finds a definitive link to a particular farm the tainted product is often off the market. 

Why This Matters:  As we begin to panic about coronavirus, we may be missing the bigger risk to our health right there in our salad bowl.  Food safety systems are something only the government can reliably provide — when it comes to food safety and our health, self-regulation does not work.

Continue Reading 588 words
One Hollywood Thing: Award Shows Give A Bow To Sustainability With Plant-Based Dinners

One Hollywood Thing: Award Shows Give A Bow To Sustainability With Plant-Based Dinners

Both the Golden Globe awards two weeks ago and the Screen Actors Guild Awards — which serve dinner to Hollywood A-list attendees — served plant-based dinners in a nod to climate change and sustainability.  The attendees at the Globes caught flak on Twitter for the disconnect between the carbon footprint of riding in hundreds of […]

Continue Reading 151 words