The Virginia crabbing season kicked off last week, with many crabbers reeling in their 27-bushel daily limit. The catch predominantly consists of female crabs, with a few males mixed in. Local picking houses stand ready to process the crabs but are awaiting the arrival of their pickers from Mexico.
These pickers are HB1 visa workers, who typically arrive in early April and return home in mid-November. The local crab meat industry relies heavily on these workers, as very few Americans choose crab picking as a career. Fortunately, it appears that most local picking houses have secured their HB1 visa workers for this year. In the past, these workers were assigned through a lottery system, which sometimes left businesses without any workers and forced them to close for the year.