"Mysterious Blue Crab Shortage Spawns Big-Time Sticker Shock"

"Crab cakes were the top seller for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, but the chain decided this summer to yank them off the menu after crab prices tripled.

Bart Farrell, the vice president of food and beverage for the company, said jumbo lump crabmeat that normally would have cost his company about $18 to $22 at this time of year is now selling for $60 a pound.

“We couldn’t justify the price that we would have had to charge. … We’re already absorbing high prices across the board on all food items, but when you’re talking about a 300% increase on your No. 1 item, there’s just no way that that has any sustainability,” said Farrell, whose company operates about a dozen restaurants in the Washington region.

While the coronavirus pandemic shuttered restaurants and battered the blue crab industry last year, 2021 has brought more bad news: Prices skyrocketed due to a shortage of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, long a top producer of the "beautiful swimmer," a species distinguished by its bright blue claws."

Rob Hotakainen reports for E&E News July 21, 2021.

Source: E&E News, 07/22/2021