Maryland’s seafood industry is facing a massive shortage of laborers to pick and process crab meat for the second time in three years, and is pleading with the Trump administration to increase a limit on foreign guest workers.
Six of nine crab-picking operations at the core of the state’s seafood industry do not expect to receive the visas they need to hire workers, usually about 500 women from Mexico, to pick crab meat for sale in grocery stores and restaurants. Maryland agriculture officials estimate that could cost the state more than 1,000 jobs and as much as $150 million in economic activity.
A dearth of picked crab meat can lead to increased supply of crabs being sold by the bushel, driving up the price of local meat and reducing prices for steamed crabs.
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