The Maryland crab season may have a slow start this year.

With so many events to look forward to on the East Coast during the warmer months, few are as highly anticipated as the Maryland crab season. The Maryland crab season brings with it juicy Maryland Blue Crabs and seafood flavors that will make your mouth water. But with the unexpected impact of coronavirus across the coast and the nation, crab season in Maryland may not be as flavorful as years past. 

When Does the Maryland Crab Season Start?

Crabs for sale

The Maryland crab season starts on the first of April and runs through November. The much-loved Maryland Blue Crab harvest is typically the best in the later months of the season. This is when the crabs are at their largest and juiciest. Each year, celebrations, events, and restaurants mark the start of the season with mouthwatering crab dishes that draw thousands. Many Marylanders, however, are realizing that along with all the other aspects of life right now, indulging in the crab season may take a back seat due to the growing threat of coronavirus. 

Why Isn't Business Booming?

Maryland has followed suit along with a majority of the other states in the nation in implementing a stay-at-home order. Unfortunately, this order has hit the restaurant industry the hardest in the fact that they can no longer offer dine-in services, only take out. For many restaurants, this has significantly decreased the demand for seafood—and seafood restaurants are especially getting hit hard because unlike fast food, seafood restaurants are meant to be outings of enjoyment and experience, which are just as important as the meal itself. The stay-at-home order has significantly impacted the demand for seafood, crab included. To check out how you can help struggling restaurants battle the virus, click here

Some Businesses Are Fighting Back

Capitol Crab dish

Some restaurants refuse to let the virus impact the Maryland crab season. Tim Walsh, the owner of Capital Crab, has loaded up the Capital Crab truck with some of his signature dishes so that he can continue sharing the delight of the crab season. Businesses like his have helped keep fisherman out on the water, even though the demand for crab and other seafood has fallen. 

Interruption in the Supply Chain

For many fishermen, the stay-at-home order has strict limitations on recreational boating and fishing. However, commercial crab fishing is still permitted. Even so, the number of fishermen going out to sea is dwindling; there simply is not a demand for seafood due to shut-down restaurants and canceled crab festivals all across the East Coast. While some fishermen have chosen to go out regardless, other fishermen simply cannot afford to take out their boats and set up their cages only to be left with a harvest they cannot sell. 

Lack of Demand Trend Continues

Blue crab in wild

The main consensus that the coronavirus will impact the Maryland crab season stems from the decline of other seafood harvests in previous weeks. The oyster season saw a drastic decline with a decrease in demand as the coronavirus continued to peak throughout the country. The same decline in demand for crabs is expected, especially during the next few months. 

What Does the Future of the Maryland Crab Season Look Like?

Much like many aspects of life, the future of this year's Maryland crab season is uncertain. The coronavirus has undoubtedly impacted the potential of the season’s reach. There does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, however. Because the peak of the crab harvest is in the later months of the year, business owners and fishermen are relying on the spread of the virus to slow down over time. And with the stay-at-home orders being lifted anywhere from weeks to a couple months, restaurants getting back to business fuel anticipation that the Maryland crab season will be able to withstand this unexpected bump in the road. 

What are your thoughts? How do you think the pandemic will affect this year's crab season? Do you know anybody impacted? Tell us in the comments!