In both the lower Chesapeake Bay and the sounds behind the Outer Banks, we’re starting to see a few peelers emerge. The majority of them are small peelers, producing hotel primes and the occasional prime. Prices are currently high, but they can fluctuate rapidly. When it comes to peelers and soft crabs, a slow start can quickly turn into a massive influx.
As we look ahead in the calendar, we anticipate a bountiful supply of large soft crabs by Mother’s Day, May 14. You can plan on extensively promoting them leading up to that date and even before. Barring any unexpected arctic blasts (which seem increasingly possible these days), we should have a wide variety of live soft crabs available by the first week of May.
The frozen soft crab market remains robust, providing a safety net against any drastic price drops. Furthermore, crab populations are at an all-time low, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see the massive volumes of soft crabs we’ve experienced in previous years. However, it’s worth noting that North Carolina is reportedly seeing a surge in crabs for the first time in several years. Time will tell how this development unfolds. Predicting Mother Nature’s behavior, particularly when it comes to hard crabs, is always a challenge.