Prices jump as blue crab population sinks

Posted at 10:26 AM, Jul 17, 2013

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WTKR) — In Hampton Roads, there’s always a big demand for crabs, but there’s one problem with that: Blue crabs are hard to come by this year.

“I’m down.  I’m way down actually from this year to last year,” said Mark Sanford, a commercial crabber, “I’m probably catching half of what I usually do.”

Restaurants and seafood markets are feeling the effects. In fact, there are days when they run out, and the prices are higher.

“It’s all supply and demand.  The supply is very, very low and the demand is high and because of that the price increases just like everything else,” said Sanford.

The wholesale price has gone up, which means customers are now paying more.   At Dockside Seafood Market, a dozen Jimmies, which are male crabs, cost $26.  Last year the same amount would have cost about $18.

According to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, overfishing is not the problem.  They don’t know for sure what is, but say a poor reproductive year could be to blame.

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