We estimate that crabmeat industry revenues from processing sponge crabs can increase by at least 56% over the current estimated value of production, from $1.6 million to $2.5 million. This gain can be realized by moving from the current fixed opening of the season during which the Maryland industry can purchase sponge crabs to a flexible starting date to the season that lasts the same number of days as the current system. This change would have the added advantage of reducing the variability in revenues that come from processing sponge crabs. Our modeling of the decision to open the season is based on a minimum amount of information. It is expected that with more sophisticated analysis of the market situation during the season, experts can optimize the opening date and increase the revenues even further.


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