Federal Funds Cut For Crab Study

The omnibus spending bill recently signed into law by President Bush eliminates funding for a research project in Baltimore hoping to boost the blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Center of Marine Biotechnology at the Inner Harbor received nearly $4 million from Washington for the project last year, but that appropriation was cut to zero for the current year. The salaries of about two dozen scientists are paid through the federal grant, as well as researchers in North Carolina, Virginia and Mississippi.

Center director Yonathan Zohar told The Sun newspaper in Baltimore that he has enough money to continue the research until the end of this year and will seek other funding. If he is unsuccessful, Zohar said he would have to lay people off.

The researchers have been looking at the life cycle of the blue crab and observing how young crabs migrate in the bay.