Laura Newcomer: Blue Crab B.S. on the Chesapeake Bay

Laura Newcomer is currently an intern with National Geographic Magazine. She graduated last December from Penn State University with degrees in English and Geography and, blessedly, little debt. When she’s not writing scathing indictments of modern-day advertising, she’s usually cavorting with centaurs in the farthest corners of the globe (and the near ones, too).

Laura_Newcomer_Pic1.pngOf course by “B.S.” I mean “Bank Statements.”

Every morning on my
walk to work in downtown Washington, D.C., I pass an advertisement for
Capital One Bank that says, “Easier to find than blue crabs in
Chesapeake Bay”. And each time I wonder, What does that mean? 

seems obvious, perhaps, that we’re to assume there are a lot of blue
crabs in the Bay, and that the bank has even more branches than that.
But unless we possess pre-established knowledge about the status of blue
crabs in the Chesapeake, how can we assume this to be true?

The Blue Crab’s Back-Story

Let’s start with a quick introduction to the state of blue crabs in the Bay. Blue crabs are the most valuable commercial fish commodity
in the Bay– it’s estimated that the Chesapeake supplies more than
one-third of the nation’s blue crab catch, to the tune of about $50 million per year — but since the early 1990s the population has been increasingly taxed by harvest pressures, habitat loss, and water pollution.

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