Shrimp and Blue Crabs

Blue CrabThe Research Vessel Silver Crescent is used to monitor sub-adult and adult shrimp and blue crab on a routine basis in the State's larger creeks, rivers and open waters to provide information on these animals as they begin migrating toward the ocean.

Samples are collected with a 20-foot trawl, with water temperature and salinity also being measured.

This sampling is supplemented by trawling with outboard motorboats in the central and northern coastal zones of the State. Sampling data are important in determining the commercial shrimping season's opening and closing dates for the areas from the beaches to three miles offshore.

Tidal creeks are sampled biweekly during spring and summer for juvenile shrimp and blue crab, to predict commercial catch and management strategy. Size data are used to predict when shrimp move into areas open for commercial trawling and when they reach a harvestable size. Sampling involves trawling with a 10-ft wide small-mesh net.

Staff have conducted a fishery-independent survey of blue crab stocks using crab pots to determine trends since 1988. The crab pots are fished in a standardized manner in each of the major estuaries.

Status of white shrimp and blue crab stocks can be found at: