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Maryland Blue Crab Counts Low, Prices High

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- With the warm weather, the number of people looking to feast on hard crabs is increasing, but prices are at record levels.

Mike Schuh explains why.

but  the number of crabs coming out of the bay is very low.

The number of crabs coming out of the bay in Maryland is low, very low.

"The numbers this year are disappointing," said Russell Knapp, of J.J. MacDonald.

The state says the population is at its lowest number in six years, and that is reflected in the amount of crabs being caught. But if you think that puts a chill in the market, think again.

Demand is up and so is the price.

"Supply and demand, we had that hurricane, and people want to crab for the holidays," Knapp said.

With Maryland lacking in supply, many of the crabs are come from North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas.  Southern crabs cost less in the south. But when you add in transportation, they are the same price as Maryland crabs, which are at an all-time high.

"It's been consistently high all year, long since the opening of the season," Knapp said.

At the dock, the jumbos are $250 a bushel. Retail is more than $300. If you want steamed jumbos, it works out to $85 per dozen. Whew.

Even though the Fourth of July has passed, Knapp says he doesn't expect the prices to drop.

Even if the crabs don't bite you, they will be certain to pinch your wallet.

Wholesalers say the prices probably won't drop until September when school starts, and there is still a good supply.

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