Soft Shell Crab

Where Have All the Soft Crabs Gone!?

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In previous years, you could pretty much bank on being up to your eyeballs in live soft crabs for 80% of the month of May. From Mother’s Day to Memorial Day, live softs were plentiful and inexpensive. However, this year turned out to have the absolute lowest volume and shortest first run of soft crabs anyone could remember. Being a stage in the life cycle of a blue crab, you need lots of hard crabs to produce lots of soft crabs.

In today’s Chesapeake Bay, although recent DNR data suggests an upturn, the blue crab population is trying to make a comeback from an all-time low. A blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay is “hunted” from the time it emerges from hibernation each spring. If the cow-nosed rays or blue cats don’t get them, then the crab pots, trot lines, peeler pots, or scrapes will.

Our ability to overfish the blue crab population is real. The destructive fishing practices we still employ here in the Chesapeake Bay today (picking sponge crabs and catching peelers as small as 3 inches) exacerbate the problem. Don’t expect soft crabs to drop below $6 each this summer, that is, IF you can find them.

Prices are subject to change