As the water warms up this spring in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic, many domestic picking houses are firing up their steamers and starting to pick crabs. The problem is the landscape is a lot different than a year ago.
A year ago, there was very little, if any, pasteurized crabmeat around. Crabs were not plentiful in Lake Maracaibo. Menu prices on crabmeat were not elevated yet. The “demand shock” from reopening was in full force.
Today is a very different story. The pasteurized market is flush with high-priced meat. Lake Maracaibo is chock-full of crabs. Menu prices on crabmeat are high. Demand for crabmeat is muted. What ultimately determines the price of crabmeat is the price paid for the raw material by the picking houses. Right now, that is high. But that will change as the water warms in May. It will be an interesting summer.