BETHESDA, Md. — It’s a shellfish lover's favorite time of year. You can get them soft, steamed, with Old Bay or not, but it’s crab season! The price of everything seems to be on the rise and seafood is no exception.
Memorial Day weekend is typically a time of year when families break out the brown paper and hammers to feast on some Maryland Blue Crabs. But, if you’ve bought any in the last few weeks, you've probably noticed, the price is more like lobster with a side of caviar.
There is a number of factors as to why we’ve seen the price go up. One of the biggest contributing factors is the odd weather we’ve had along the gulf coast.
Yen Lee has been running the show at Bethesda Crab House for the last 30 years. It’s not much about the little critters he doesn’t know. He said a global pandemic didn’t even slow customers down.
“It's really a surprise on what I experienced through the pandemic. People made it a go to spot, you know, they can get burgers anywhere but they can't get good crabs, anywhere,” Lee said.
But the price point may change how many you get. Prices for a dozen resemble former prices for a bushel.
“Prices are at an all-time high, unfortunately. Fuel costs are much higher these days, as well as the demand is in great need, especially during the holiday, as well as supply lines are tight, so they're hard to come by,” Lee added.
A study from the Department of Natural Resources shows there are a lot of female crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, but males are at an all-time low. The overall population is at its lowest point since 1990. Lee said the weather along the Gulf Coast adds to the rising cost.
“The Gulf product has the bigger crabs and the weather down there has been awful through this time of year,” Lee said.
If your plan this weekend, or any weekend going forward is to indulge in a crab feast, make sure you bring a lot of cash. Lee said the price of lobster, shrimp, and all fish is significantly higher.
“And be sure to call early and reserve your crabs, especially on the holiday,” Lee said.