Study sees increase in blue crab population while sellers gear up for the season

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jul 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 11:11:31-04

(WMAR) — Maryland's little delicacy, blue crabs.

Beth Pinder works at Big Earl's Crabs on Kent Island, and it's busy day for her and the crew.

Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, but the Fourth of July is the unofficial start of crab season.

"Usually about 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. we get going, and we don't stop until about 6 p.m.," said Pinder.

Kyle Middleton comes from a family of watermen. He says it's been a rough start for crabs this summer.

"Yeah, we were a little slow. I think it's due to all the rain we had this year. It's just been a very wet year," said Middleton.

So the crabs may of had a slow start this summer, but those who deal in crabs thinks the rest of the summer should turn out just fine.

"Right now all we're getting is 6 inches, point to point and up. A lot of big, extra large and jumbos. They fatten up. They're constantly eating and getting bigger every time they shed out," said Middleton.

The Blue Crab study that came out this week agrees. The study says the juvenile crabs that will grow to five inches and up by this fall should be a million more than average. That's a 33 percent increase from last year, and that's good news for all crab lovers.

READ MORE: Chesapeake Bay blue crab population up by 60 percent

"Crabs are the biggest things in the State of Maryland. Especially a holiday like this, it doesn't get any better than this. People come all over just to buy Maryland crabs," said Middleton.

If you didn't get a chance to enjoy the sweet taste of steamed crabs with Old Bay on them this weekend, not to worry. Beth tells us of a little secret about our Chesapeake Bay blue crabs.

"People don't realize the best time to buy crabs are after Labor Day. People think that after Labor Day we're done. No, we go until the middle of October, so the prices go down," said Pinder.