MD Blue Crab Harvest Lowest In Last 24 Years - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

MD Blue Crab Harvest Lowest In Last 24 Years

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MARYLAND - If you're looking to feast on crabs this summer, be prepared to dish out a lot of cash. A new report says this year's harvest is the lowest in the last 24 years.

It's one of Maryland's most cherished treasures. The sweet taste of blue crabs, steamed fresh, straight from the Chesapeake Bay. But this year marks a 53 percent decline from last year's abundance of adult females.

"We didn't have crabs to grow into the fishery to be adult spawning age crabs for the 2014 survey," Maryland Department of Natural Resources Blue Crab Program Manager Brenda Davis said.

Experts blame the extremely cold winter we had this past season. That means, these precious crustaceans are being savored at a high cost. And restaurants are hurting too.

"Prices of crabs are up around the Fourth of July. You have to pay $200-300 on a bushel of crabs. It's ridiculous," head chef of Chesapeake Crab House and Tiki Bar Raymond Anderson said.

Crisfield is Maryland's crab capital. But this year's low harvest is forcing folks like chef Anderson to turn to crabs from the Carolinas.

"Maryland crabs are poor. They're very poor. They're expensive. It's taking a toll on everybody. Anybody who's in the seafood business," Anderson said.

A number of environmental agencies are now looking at ways to bolster local crab populations, namely by cutting down on the harvest.

"We are aiming to reduce harvest by about 10 percent," Davis said.

State officials hope to have those reduction numbers by the end of July.

Maryland is also looking at establishing sanctuaries to protect the population.

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