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Watermen call for new blue crab measures in Va.

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Local,Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — A group of commercial watermen is asking Virginia officials to implement new measures to strengthen blue crab population management in the state.

The Virginia Blue Crab Industry Panel is seeking formal consideration of its recommendations from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

This summer the commission reduced the harvest of female blue crabs by 10 percent over the next year.

An annual survey released in May showed the number of spawning-age female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay dropped below the minimum safe level of 70 million and are depleted.

The industry panel says more long-term measures are needed to address the situation. Its recommendations include a pilot program assigning individual harvest limits to watermen based on the total number of crabs that can be safely harvested.

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