Uncertainty and hope mark beginning of the crab season


by Jackie Nunnery

Crabber James Gaskins drops crab pots into the Chesapeake Bay at sunrise. Gaskins said, “It’s too early to tell” how the pandemic-related closures will affect the crab industry. Photo by Drew Hubbard Gaskins

KILMARNOCK—Just as the crab season was getting underway in Virginia, statewide closures put the season in doubt. 

Crabbing started March 17 with early runs of hard shells. And then restaurants began to close. The upcoming soft shell market which runs late April to September will likely experience the biggest impact. Soft shells, a popular delicacy at restaurants, are crabs that have just molted, or shed their older, smaller hard shell.

Although crabs shed all year long, “there’s a spike in April…

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