If you order blue crab this summer, don’t be surprised if you feel a pinch in your wallet. The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population has dived from 765 million to 300 million within the last year, WKTR reports.
As blue crabs become increasingly difficult to get a hold of, the laws of supply and demand are driving prices up. One Virginia market reported an $8 increase in the cost of a dozen male crabs, or “Jimmies,” from $18 to $26 this summer.
Wildlife officials are reluctant to blame the crabs’ increasing absence on overfishing, instead suggesting that cause might lie in a poor spawning season. Notably, there has been an uptick in the bay’s juvenile red drum, a known predator of the crabs’ offspring.
But before anyone gets too blue, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission offers a reason to stay optimistic. Even as the population falls as a whole, there’s been a huge increase in the number of female adult crabs, meaning that the crabs’ mating problem might not last for long.