The blue crab's scientific name translates as "beautiful swimmer that is savory." Blue crab meat sometimes is compared to the sweetness of lobster meat; the flavor best appreciated by cracking and eating steamed hardshells or feasting on softshells. Crab is prepared in restaurant and home kitchens in innumerable ways, steamed or sauteed, as Maryland Crab Cakes and Crab Imperial, or in crab soup and crab dip.
Blue Crab on dock, Annapolis, Maryland, 1998. Photo by Elizabeth W. Newell.
Crab baskets, tops, & yellow crab pots (traps), Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, December 2002. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Blue crabs (sooks), Lusby, Maryland, September 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In Maryland, blue crabs are the most valuable commercial fishery. The annual catch of hard crabs from the Chesapeake Bay accounts for over 50 percent of total landings. For regulations governing blue crabs, see: www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/commercial/bluecrabregs.html.
The annual National Hard Crab Derby and Fair is held each Labor Day weekend on the Eastern Shore in the town of Crisfield, Somerset County, Maryland. There are held crab races, a crab picking contest, a crab cooking contest, and the traditional crab feast! At the Somers Cove Marina, the next Derby will be held in September 2006.
At the upper level of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport, a stained-glass blue crab is on display.
Published by the Maryland Sea Grant College in 2007, The Blue Crab: Callinectes sapidus, edited by Victor S. Kennedy and L. Eugene Cronin, provides further information about the blue crab.
July 1, 2009
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