Crab Picking Houses Struggle to Find Migrant, Domestic Workers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Crab Picking Houses Struggle to Find Migrant, Domestic Workers

Posted: May 04, 2018 8:34 PM Updated:
(Photo: Maryland DNR) (Photo: Maryland DNR)

HOOPER'S ISLAND, Md. - Lindy's Seafood Owner, Aubrey Vincent, has been online a lot lately, advertising just about everywhere to get workers to her picking house on Hooper's Island.

"I have 104 open positions and I have 2 applications so far," Vincent said.

A U.S. government lottery system didn't pick places like Lindy's to get their H2-B visas, leaving them with just a handful of domestic workers. Meanwhile, other places, like Russell Hall Seafood, are completely empty.

Vincent says, each day without crab pickers, she loses about $20,000 in sales every day.

"I can't get enough people interested in giving it a try," Vincent said.

Vincent adds that getting American workers isn't so simple. She says the location is too far for many people and raising the $12 hourly wage won't bring profit.

Further uptown, G.W. Hall Seafood got their visas. Owner Bryan Hall says many of the workers have been with them for decades. Many are considered family.

Lawmakers, like Representative Andy Harris, say the release of another 15,000 visas from the Department of Homeland Security is imminent though still not enough.

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin say they have no timeframe or next moves, but are working to get the job done.

Now, two months in and fast appraoching peak season, Vincent says she doesn't have much time left.

"I hope it's not too late," Vincent said.

Hall says if help doesn't come soon, Maryland's crab industry could be ruined.

 

 

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