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: 9/9/14
In this episode:
Seafood Watch upgrades status of 21 fish species
Calif. bill attacking seafood mislabeling approved
Ballot item would protect Bristol Bay salmon
NOAA closes cod, yellowtail fishing areas
Pacific panel halves young bluefin harvest
National Fisherman Live: 8/26/14
In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about his early days dragging for redfish on the Vandal.
More than a dozen higher education institutions and federal and local fishery management agencies and organizations in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at building the capacity of the U.S. Pacific Island territories to manage their fisheries and fishery-related resources.