Gulf Pinches Maryland Seafood Industry

The massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is beginning to be felt in Maryland, as the state's seafood businesses say fisheries shutdowns in Louisiana waters have pinched off a major source of oysters and domestic shrimp, driving up prices in the process.

Gulf crabs, which grace many a late-spring feast in Maryland, are still available, say wholesalers and restaurateurs. But don't expect any price breaks at the crab house or market, because the predicted boom in Chesapeake Bay crustaceans hasn't shown up yet in local waters.

"Memorial Day weekend, there's going to be shortages, and the prices are going to be outrageous, but that's normal," said Bill Sieling of the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association said about crabs. As a result of the Gulf fisheries disruption, he noted, "it will be greater than it usually is."

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Photo by Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore Sun