Crabbers struggling with declining catches, insufficient prices

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jun 27, 2012 - 03:46 PM

Photo: Gloucester watermen have seen a significant drop in the number of crabs since the start of crab season. E.C. Hogge, left, has given up crabbing for now, while Ricky Hall, second from right, only caught nine bushels of crabs over a two-day period this week. They’re shown here at Aberdeen Creek with, second from left, retired waterman Fred Leigh and mate Robert “Dinky” Whitt. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Gloucester watermen have seen a significant drop in the number of crabs since the start of crab season. E.C. Hogge, left, has given up crabbing for now, while Ricky Hall, second from right, only caught nine bushels of crabs over a two-day period this week. They’re shown here at Aberdeen Creek with, second from left, retired waterman Fred Leigh and mate Robert “Dinky” Whitt. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Gloucester crabbers are having a hard time catching crabs this summer.

Ricky Hall of Gloucester pulled into the dock on Aberdeen Creek Monday morning with just five bushels of jimmies and four bushels of sooks. He last fished his 350 pots on Saturday, so that was two days’ worth of crabs.

"It’s about as sorry as it can get," he said. "People say they’ve never seen the crab population as sorry as it is now."

E.C. Hogge has given up crabbing for now.

"I don’t see no sense putting pots over," he said. "You can’t catch enough to do no good."

Lewis Brown agreed. "You’ve gotta make something," he said.

Crabs were fairly abundant in the spring, said Hall, but even then it was rare for someone to catch the 51-bushel limit that was in effect until May 31.