At the landmark Fisherman's Inn and Crab Deck at the Kent Narrows, owner Andy Schulz says he'll have plenty of crabs for his waterfront crab feast this summer. But it's going to cost you.
"The forecast is for higher prices as usual. Seafood hasn't been coming down lately," Schulz explained. "Dozen large crabs, July fourth? Oh gosh, it'll be in the 50s a dozen..."
His forecast is based on the annual state forecast for crabs. Scientists spent the winter dredging mud at more than 1,000 locations in the Chesapeake Bay, counting buried, dormant crabs. This year, they say the population has plummeted from 765 million crabs last year to 300 million. The report warns the decline "could lead to the tightening of commercial harvest restrictions."
One theory blames the crabs themselves for their decline.
Maryland DNR Crab Program Manager Brenda Davis said, "There's no way to tell for sure. There's an increase in natural mortality when you have lots of young crabs like we did in 2012 just because they tend to eat each other."
Not everyone believes the numbers. Veteran Chesapeake Waterman Captain Andrew Wright said it's too early to know.
"You just can't go by what statistics say," he added. "...really you just have to wait and see."
Wright thinks crabs will bounce back quickly. Sally and James Wolfe of Berryville, Va. sure hope so. But no matter the price, the couple says they'll keep on picking.
Read the full story at WJLA>>
National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.