NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Virginia is paying for a scientific study to determine how harmful dredging for blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay may be to the ecosystem and crab population.
The Virginian-Pilot reports (http://bit.ly/TjhkNu ) that state regulators have pledged more than $130,000 toward the study.
State regulators have a moratorium on winter dredging, but watermen want it lifted.
The study will be overseen by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. It will pay four watermen to dredge as many as 40 bushes of crabs a day that they can sell for a profit. Among others things, officials want to see how the dredges tear up mud, sand and underwater grasses and whether the dredges maim crabs.
The study begins in December and will run through March.
Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com