Monday, 28 May 2018

Crab shortage hits Lyme Bay

In the United States, it's proving difficult to bring in crabs:
Trump makes it tough for crabbers to hire foreign workers - NPR
Shortage of Foreign Workers Jeopardizes Maryland Crab Business - VOA

However, in the UK, it's also proving difficult - because the crabs are just not appearing.

The Daily Telegraph and the Plymouth Live website have both posted stories from the West Country - and both have interviews from Sidmouth:
UK in 'crab crisis' as restaurants forced to pull dishes from menus - Telegraph 

Why crab is being removed from menus across Devon and Cornwall

A crab crisis is gripping the country - and that means cafes and restaurants don't have any to serve you

John Bett
28 MAY 2018

Some of Britain's top coastal resorts are facing a 'crab crisis' after a sudden drop in supply caused some cafes and restaurants to drop the crustaceans from their menus. Traders have noticed a sharp drop in availability since Christmas, with many blaming the Beast from the East for disrupting the supply chain.

Wholesale prices have soared and some outlets in Devon and Cornwall have started removing their popular crab sandwiches from their menu. Fisherman as far afield as Whitby in Yorkshire and Cromer in Norfolk have reported stocks being down by 40 per cent.

Some restaurateurs in Sidmouth say they have been unable to source any crab for months.

James Arnold, 37, general manager at the Pea Green Boat, said: "We haven't been able to get any crab for about three months. It's a problem because it brings people in. This time last year we were selling them hand over fist but this year we don't have any. People come in asking for it so it is frustrating. It's had an affect on passing trade, it was the headline item on the menu and people would see it and come in."

Why crab is being removed from menus across Devon and Cornwall - Plymouth Live

Here's the story from the Herald: 

‘Crab crisis’ forces popular dish off menus in Sidmouth
PUBLISHED: 12:15 26 May 2018
Kay Bagwell of Sidmouth Trawlers

Kay Bagwell of Sidmouth Trawlers

Seafood restaurants in Sidmouth are facing a ‘crab crisis’ with the popular dish being removed from the menu because of dwindling supplies from local fishermen.

“We haven’t had it on the menu for over two months,” said Chris Pike, of The Pea Green Boat restaurant. “Every day people come in and ask, ‘where are the crab sandwiches?’.”
The restaurant sources its crab locally and during the summer would normally take a fresh delivery every day.
“It’s definitely affecting the menu in Sidmouth,” said Chris. Some places might serve frozen crab, but it was a ‘completely different product’, he added.
Crab fisherman Kim Aplin, from Beer, who supplies many local businesses, said he had never known it this bad. “Even I can’t make a crab sandwich at the moment,” he said.
Kim added that, strangely, 90 per cent of the crabs he caught were male, with just 10 per cent female. “I could sell my crab five times over at the moment. Where people are getting their crab from, I don’t know,” he said.
At Dukes, general manager Jo Watson reported massive problems getting local crab so far this season, adding: “At this time of year we usually have crab cakes, crab linguine and so on, but we haven’t been able to source enough to put these dishes on the menu.”
Meanwhile, Neil Harding, of Neil’s Restaurant, said he was managing to buy crab but the price had risen by 25 per cent. He had heard the shortage was caused by cuttlefish eating the young crab last year, but no-one is really sure what the cause of the decline is. “We’ve had to put up prices and reduce portions to compensate,” said Neil.
Andy Witheridge, owner of The Salty Monk in Sidford, said he changed the menu according to availability. Crab has been off his menu for two years. He said: “It should be seen as a luxury and not just rammed in a sandwich.”
Kay Bagwell, of Sidmouth Trawlers fish shop, said her cousin Neil Bagwell, a fisherman in Exmouth, put down 60 crab pots and brought back only eight crabs. In good times, a fisherman might get that many in each pot. Kay’s son Ryan, who makes regular trips to Brixham market for the family business, said a shortage of supplies had forced prices up from £5 a kilo to £8.

‘Crab crisis’ forces popular dish off menus in Sidmouth | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

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