Crab Peak Season Draws Near, Only One Crab House Gets Pickers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Crab Peak Season Draws Near, Only One Crab House Gets Pickers

Posted: Jun 13, 2018 5:08 PM Updated:

HOOPER'S ISLAND, Md. - Like the inside of his crab house, hope for Old Salty's Seafood owner, Jay Newcomb, is running close to empty.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security began releasing the 15,000 H2-B worker visas it promised through a lottery system this week. Places like Old Salty's, hoping to get their Mexican crab pickers, still haven't heard a thing.

"We applied for 12 workers and got approved but we have not been able to obtain the visas due to the cap and are still waiting on the results of the lottery," Newcomb said.

It's a waiting game with no time left, as the peak of crab season, around July 4th, draws near. Newcomb says he'll hold onto hope until Friday.

"The clock is really, really ticking and it's really put a lot of hardship," Newcomb said.

It's hardship for places like A E Phillips, which currently sits empty, but not for long, the general manager says they got their visas and could have their pickers ready to work in about a month.

It's a sigh of relief for W.T. Ruark & Company Owner, Dot Ruark, who got her workers in time for the season.

"We're all in competition but we're all friends," Ruark said. "We're really happy for them and we're hoping and praying that the rest of them will get them."

Newcomb agrees that it's a small win not to be dismissed.

"We're happy for them but I just wish everybody could get them to be on the same playing field," Newcomb said.

But like the empty house his pickers used to live in, Newcomb still wonders if his visas will ever come.

"Everything's here. We're just waiting for them to come back," Newcomb said.

The owners of Lindy's and Russell Hall Seafood say they are also still hoping to get H2-B visas.

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