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What kind of year will it be for Chesapeake crabs?

ANNAPOLIS — Wondering what kind of year it will be for Chesapeake Bay crabs?

One of the big clues comes this month when the results of the winter dredge survey are released. The survey, conducted by Maryland and Virginia, is the most comprehensive look at the bay’s crab population.

Its findings are used to decide how long the season is and how many crabs can be taken.

Last year’s survey found the population had rebounded in the wake of strict limits, but was still below the long-term average.

Those limits were put in place as previous surveys found a sharp drop in the crab population. Virginia and Maryland cut the crab harvest by a third beginning in 2008, as well as shortening the season and banning the dredging of hibernating pregnant females.