[photo, Street cafe at lunchtime, West Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland]
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  • Request "A Consumer's Guide to Maryland Seafood" Street cafe at lunchtime, West Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland, December 2001. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    Maryland, a prominent producer and processor of seafood, is a national leader in supplying blue crabs and soft clams. The Chesapeake Bay provides 50 percent of the total blue crab harvest in the United States. Each year, the Maryland seafood industry contributes some $400 million to the State's economy. Annual commercial landings have averaged 44.4 million pounds since 1990. Important commercial species, besides blue crabs, include striped bass, oysters, soft clams, flounder, perch, spot, croaker, catfish, sea trout, and bluefish.

    Blue Crabs. Plentiful from late spring through fall, blue crabs turn red when steamed. When mature, they measure five to seven inches across. Soft shell crabs are blue crabs that have outgrown and therefore shed their hard outer shell and whose new shells have not yet hardened. Soft shell crabs generally are available from May through September.

    The Maryland Blue Crab is the State Crustacean.






    Crabs* 41,306,361 lbs. 26,218,865 lbs. 32,124,202 lbs. 21,661,198 lbs.
    Finfish 14,970,099 lbs. 15,671,683 lbs. 15,790,185 lbs. 12,550,847 lbs.
    Oysters 1,507,850 lbs. 2,452,291 lbs. 2,464,032 lbs. 2,365,160 lbs.
    Soft Clams 252,231 lbs. 227,936 lbs. 147,930 lbs. 169,280 lbs.
    Total 58,036,541 lbs. 44,570,775 lbs. 50,526,349 lbs. 36,746,485 lbs.






    Crabs* $37,860,607 $30,628,487 $34,519,954 $30,088,219
    Finfish $7,964,519 $8,558,511 $9,154,378 $7,457,195
    Oysters $4,709,785 $7,599,078 $6,952,100 $7,154,260
    Soft Clams $1,680,477 $1,532,017 $1,010,636 $1,378,284
    Total $52,215,388 $48,318,093 $51,637,068 $46,077,958

    *Includes soft shell crabs
    Source: Fisheries Service, Department of Natural Resources.


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     Maryland Manual On-Line, 2002

    November 5, 2002   
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    Copyright November 06, 2002 Maryland State Archives