SEAFOOD PRODUCTION


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. Mature blue crabs are 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.

COMMERCIAL LANDINGS

1997

1998

1999

Crabs* 41,306,361 lbs. 26,218,865 lbs. 32,124,202 lbs.
Finfish 14,970,099 lbs. 15,671,683 lbs. 15,790,185 lbs.
Oysters 1,507,850 lbs. 2,452,291 lbs. 2,464,032 lbs.
Soft Clams 252,231 lbs. 227,936 lbs. 147,930 lbs.
Total 58,036,541 lbs. 44,570,775 lbs. 50, 526,349 lbs.

DOCKSIDE VALUE

1997

1998

1999

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

Source: Fisheries Service, Department of Natural Resources.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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