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Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 04/11/2011

Chesapeake crabs: Will it be a good year?

Yum. A population survey by the Department of Natural Resources will determine how long the Chesapeake crab season will be. (By Kevin Clark/The Washington Post)
Everyone has a different marker signaling warm weather ahead: Blooming flowers. Breaking out the flip flops. A friend even interpreted an uptick in roadkill as a sign that spring had — finally — sprung.

But for many locals, one symbol beats the rest: Crabs! Chesapeake crabs to be exact.

After a steep drop in bay’s crab population, we saw a rebound last year thanks to strict regulations in Virginia and Maryland limiting the female crab harvest. Maryland’s blue crab population jumped 60 percent — its highest level in more than a decade — but numbers were still below goal.

Last month, early crab census numbers indicated another hopeful year ahead; official population survey results are expected this month.

Now, as we wait for the final results from the Department of Natural Resources, there’s no reason not to whet our appetites:

The Going Out Guide offers a bevy of crab-related content, including restaurants and tips on where to get the best crab cakes and other seafood.

And don’t forget to check out the Food section’s Recipe Finder for preparing crab dishes at home.

By  |  11:40 AM ET, 04/11/2011

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