The H2-B Visa Crisis Impact Goes Beyond the Crab Houses - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

H2-B Visa Crisis Impact Goes Beyond the Crab Houses

Posted: May 30, 2018 5:57 PM Updated:
(Photo: Maryland DNR) (Photo: Maryland DNR)

Woolford, Md - The job chain in the crab industry in Dorchester County is on the line if the H2-B visas don't come soon enough.

Allan Smith, a waterman that works with over 50 local fishermen, looks at the pictures of his boat filled with crabs on the walls of Lindy's Seafood. A harsh reminder of what the crab industry was like before the lottery system was implemented.

"This boat is coming out of smith island," he says as he points to one of the photographs on the wall. "These are all 90 percent picking crabs," he adds. "The next time we have the boat filled like this I don't know what we're gonna do with it," he says.

The lack of seasonal workers to pick the crabs has hit all across the industry.

As J.M Clayton owner, Jack Brooks explains, the new system puts at risks hundreds of American workers.

"We have people who make baskets, people who make containers, cups, people who work on trucks, people who buy trucks it just keeps going on and on, " he says.

According to a 2010 Maryland University study, every H2-B visa worker that comes to the seafood industry in the state supports 2.54 American jobs

"Right now we have the absence of 200 people. Those are 500 American jobs on the line," said Brooks.

Steve Vilkas runs CAS PAK, a company that sales boxes to the seafood companies. He's also been affected by the shortage and fears that time to find a solution runs out.

"There were several companies that were buying up 10 thousand boxes at the time and now they're only buying 10 percent of that," said Vilkas "It's a very seasonal business and right now we're in the middle of the season so it does harm us," he added.


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