This 1997 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan serves four major purposes, and depending on interests, the reader may want to focus on the relevant sections. First, the Plan describes the nature and extent of the blue crab fishery on Chesapeake Bay. Second, the Plan provides a framework for state actions to manage the blue crab as a fishery. Third, the Plan incorporates an innovative effort to identify specific geographic areas that provide key habitat for the blue crab. Finally, the Plan outlines for the public the on-going scientific debate regarding the status of the blue crab stock, the life cycle, and the effects of management actions on both. Much of the discussion is related to studies still underway that are likely to be published in mid-1997. Once available, these reports will help expand the discussion on blue crab biology and management. As the policy implications of these scientific findings are analyzed, it may be appropriate to amend this fishery management plan to reflect any emerging consensus on currently unresolved issues.