Here’s Why Workers are Digging Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs Out of the Mud this Month

Every year about this time, crews from Maryland’s and Virginia’s natural resources departments head out onto the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries on boats. Workers are dredging the muddy bottom in the water for crabs, not for the steamer, but for research. It’s called the winter dredge survey. State employees use the information they get to develop harvest regulations for commercial crabbers.

Shaun Miller, a biologist with Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, says they have to do it in the winter because that’s when crabs hibernate, when they “bury themselves in the mud.”