Tourists Say They're Willing to Pay More for Maryland Crabs as P - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Tourists Say They're Willing to Pay More for Maryland Crabs as Prices Increase This Season

Posted: May 25, 2018 7:13 PM Updated:

BERLIN, Md.- Prices are on the rise for Maryland crabs this year, but especially for picked crab meat after H2B work visas were limited for seasonal pickers.

But tourists traveling to Ocean City say they are willing to pay more for the state delicacy. 

"People just, they come here for that. It's just not the same without it. I know the prices are pretty high, especially for crabs, but I think they'll pay it because they're on vacation," Pennsylvania visitor Steve Douglass said.

Dan Falato from New Jersey says his family has to get them every time they come down to the beaches. 

"Cause they're better in Maryland than they are in New Jersey so we're definitely willing to pay more," Falato said. 

But how much more expensive are crab prices compared to last year?  Co-owner of Crabs To Go in Berlin, John Wittmyer says picked crab meat is likely to stay high, while he hopes for the wholesale crab prices to come down as the summer continues. 

"[Picked crab meat] went up over last year, it spiked at 45 and came back to 42 and last year was 38. But like everything, insurance, taxes and all its going up so you gotta factor in something," Wittmyer said. 

He says most of his jumbo whole crabs are coming from Louisiana right now until the Maryland watermen can catch up.  Wittmyer says he can't sell crabs by the bushel right now because of the limited supply. For now steamed crabs are being sold by the dozen at various sizes. 

"They're really starting to catch some crabs now that the water has started warming up so you know we're hoping for a drop in prices across the board because we can sell more product," Wittmyer said. 

He recommends the best thing to get right now, is soft shell crabs. 

"It's crab season now so we're selling soft shells, we're selling crab meat. The soft shells are probably the best thing going right now because they just started popping off," Wittmyer said.

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