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Chesapeake Bay Seafood

Updated on February 29, 2012

Crabs, Oysters and Fish

Chesapeake Bay produces and serves some of the best seafood you will ever find anywhere. Eating these great seafood dishes will satisfy even the most discerning food critic.

Area Background:

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the most diverse. It covers approximately 11,400 square kilometers and stretches 332 kilometers from Virginia Beach, Va., to Havre de Grace, Md., at the mouth of the Susquehanna River (fig. 1). Its watershed drains a region of 165,800 square kilometers. The Chesapeake is the shipping artery for Norfolk, Va., and Baltimore, Md., and it is highly valued for its seafood, sea life, waterfowl, sport fishing, and recreational boating. At the same time, the bay is threatened by environmental degradation caused by man-induced pollution from a variety of sources.

The bay was once known for its over abundance of great seafood production. Of the total seafood species harvested, most recognition probably belong to blue crabs, clams and oysters, for making the area world famous. The plentiful oyster harvests led to the development of the skipjack, the state boat of Maryland, which is the only remaining working boat type in the United States still under sail power.

Blue Crab

One of the most well-known seafood symbols of the Chesapeake is the blue crab. These delicious crabs is one of the Bay areas largest and most valuable fisheries. They also support a way of life that has been handed down through the generations. Whether it is a commercial crabber, fishing wire pots or recreational crabbers using baskets baited with chicken necks, people in the Chesapeake Bay area, depend on the blue crab and other seafood for their way of life. Maryland blue crabs are a local seafood favorite.

Blue Crab Recipes

Maryland blue crab

How To Pick Chesapeake Bay MD Steamed Blue Crabs


The Chesapeake Bay used to be a place that oysters too numerous to imagine. It was home to oyster reefs that became so tall that some may have grazed the bottoms of boats that cruised through the Bay. The oyster meat grew so large and juicy that those that wanted to eat the oyster, sometimes needed a knife and fork to arrange better bite sizes.

Oysters also played a key ecological role in the Chesapeake, filtering algae and providing habitat and shelter for other animals and underwater plants.

Today, the Bay stands at a difficult crossroads with their seafood populations. Many years of overfishing and diseases within the environment have left the Chesapeake’s iconic oysters in a critical predicament. Scientists are looking for new ways to help the oyster populations to grow and come back to more sustainable levels in the Bay area.

Awesome Seafood recipes

Lobster, crab and seafood

Image: NASA. Chesapeake Bay Watershed View
Image: NASA. Chesapeake Bay Watershed View


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    • mulder profile image

      mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      Hmm yummy I love crabs to eat I mean lol