New migrant rules could shutter some Maryland crab houses

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Many Maryland crab houses expect to stay idle this summer after U.S. immigration officials approved additional migrant worker visas this month for only one picking house.

The Baltimore Sun reports the H-2B visas for seasonal workers were awarded by lottery for the first time this year due to high demand for workers from multiple industries. The crab houses that lost out will have to function without more than a third of their regular seasonal workers. Idle crab houses could drive up the price of Maryland's crab meat.

Bill Sieling is the director of the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association. He says the move to a lottery system threatens the future of the state's crab houses. The Sun reports that seafood companies say they can't find U.S. citizens willing to do the difficult work.


Information from: The Baltimore Sun,