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Blue Crab Fishery Monitoring

A photo of a blue crab

Blue crabs are sought after by both recreation and commercial fishers in the Hudson River Estuary. The blue crab project started in the fall of 1999, with the first field season in the summer of 2000.

Objectives:

How blue crab is measured

The objective of the project is to sustain and enhance the commercial and recreational blue crab fishery in the Estuary.

Methods:

To learn more about the commercial fishery a monitoring program was developed. This is done in part through on board observation of the commercial fishery. While on the fisher's boat, catch data is collected. The number and sex of the crabs is determined. Water quality data is also collected, such as dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and salinity. A subsample of crabs is measure and weighed.

Two crab fishermen in a boat in the lower Hudson

Highlights:

In the winter of 2003, we hired Normandeau Associates to dredge three sections of the river for overwintering blue crabs buried in the mud. Sampling took place in Newburgh Bay, Tappan Zee Bay and in New York Harbor. They caught the majority of the crabs (90%) in New York Harbor and no crabs in Newburgh Bay.

Harvesting of crabs from the net

To obtain a copy of the final report by mail please send your name and address to us at our email or write to us at the address to the right.

In the summer of 2005, we tagged 1520 blue crabs in Newburgh Bay as part of our independent sampling. The information can then be used to hypothesize about the seasonal movements of male and female crabs in the river. We have received returns from Poughkeepsie (RM 67) to New York Harbor (RM 0), in the vicinity of Raritan Bay and the Statue of Liberty. One of the tagged blue crabs had retained its tag for 156 days! If you catch a tagged blue crab please call 845-256-3171.

a blue crab being measured

Available Reports:

  • 2000 Blue Crab Report (364 KB pdf file)
  • 2001 Blue Crab Report (366 KB pdf file)

The reports are available for download from the menu on the right.

Hudson River Estuary Action Plan Project logo

This logo represents the Hudson River Estuary Program. Click for more information about our efforts to protect this important estuary.