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Baltimore – Blue crabs are rebounding in the Chesapeake Bay, with an annual survey showing the highest estimated population in seven years.

That’s welcome news for fisherfolk and those who love cracking into bushels of the Chesapeake’s iconic crustaceans. Feasts of blue crabs steamed in peppery seasoning are a beloved delicacy and one of last viable fisheries in America’s largest estuary.

Overall, the baywide crab population rose by 60% from last year to reach an estimated total of 594 million. An annual winter survey released by the states of Maryland and Virginia shows almost twice as many juveniles as last year. Spawning-age females have increased, too.

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio is secretary of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. In a Monday statement, she said the bay’s crab population “is both healthy and thriving.”

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