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RTS49ME
Crab-catching blues
Young people in the small rural shore towns of Chesapeake Bay, which straddles the eastern U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia, are shunning the erratic pay of "watermen", who catch crabs using skills such as baiting a crab pot or handling a trotline, previously passed down through the generations. Seasonal workers from Mexico fill many of the manual jobs in picking houses to process the crustaceans. The industry faces other headwinds, environmental issues and an increasingly global agricultural market among them. Last year's harvest was the lowest recorded in 25 years after the crab population crashed in the 1990s and early 2000s.
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48ST
October 13, 2015
Crab boats are moored at the dock at dawn on Hooper's Island, Maryland August 26, 2015. Young people...
HOOPER'S ISLAND, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Crab boats are moored at the dock at dawn on Hooper's Island, Maryland August 26, 2015. Young people in the small rural shore towns of Chesapeake Bay, which straddles the eastern U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia, are shunning the erratic pay of "watermen", who catch crabs using skills such as baiting a crab pot or handling a trotline, previously passed down through the generations. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48T4
October 13, 2015
The sky is reflected on Parsons Creek after sunrise in Madison, Maryland August 27, 2015. The Chesapeake...
Madison, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
The sky is reflected on Parsons Creek after sunrise in Madison, Maryland August 27, 2015. The Chesapeake Bay estuary is the largest in the U.S. at a surface area of 4,480 square miles (11,600 square km), and has an average depth of 21 feet (7m). REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48T1
October 13, 2015
Josue Vega nets crabs one-by-one with his family at a parking lot abutting Long Wharf Park in Cambridge,...
Cambridge, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Josue Vega nets crabs one-by-one with his family at a parking lot abutting Long Wharf Park in Cambridge, Maryland August 26, 2015. Seasonal workers from Mexico fill many of the manual jobs in picking houses to process the crustaceans. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SW
October 13, 2015
Professional waterman Jeff Robinson uses radar to make his way onto the Choptank River to catch crabs...
CHOPTANK RIVER, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Professional waterman Jeff Robinson uses radar to make his way onto the Choptank River to catch crabs near Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. Robinson has teamed up with his friend Danny Richardson, who is recovering from double hernia surgery, to work the waters of the Chesapeake Bay this year. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SO
October 13, 2015
Before sunrise, professional waterman Danny Richardson heads into the Choptank River to catch crabs near...
CHOPTANK RIVER, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Before sunrise, professional waterman Danny Richardson heads into the Choptank River to catch crabs near Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. They move their boat up the bay as the season goes on in search of the best catch. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SR
October 13, 2015
Professional watermen Jeff Robinson (C) and Danny Richardson (R) deploy a trotline as they fish for crabs...
CHOPTANK RIVER, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Professional watermen Jeff Robinson (C) and Danny Richardson (R) deploy a trotline as they fish for crabs on the Choptank River near Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. Their fishing licenses allowed them to catch up to 13 bushels of crabs that day; the daily limit can vary during the season. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SI
October 13, 2015
Parts of crabs and jellyfish lie on a wooden sorting table as professional watermen Jeff Robinson and...
CHOPTANK RIVER, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Parts of crabs and jellyfish lie on a wooden sorting table as professional watermen Jeff Robinson and Danny Richardson fish for crabs on the Choptank River near Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. Their fishing licenses allowed them to catch up to 13 bushels of crabs that day, the daily limit can vary during the season. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SP
October 13, 2015
A crab clings to the catch basket as professional watermen Jeff Robinson and Danny Richardson fish for...
CHOPTANK RIVER, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
A crab clings to the catch basket as professional watermen Jeff Robinson and Danny Richardson fish for crabs on the Choptank River near Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SN
October 13, 2015
Blue crabs wait to be tagged by researchers from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)...
TYASKIN, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Blue crabs wait to be tagged by researchers from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) before being released back into the Nanticoke River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, near Tyaskin, Maryland August 25, 2015. SERC's research on migration patterns informs the management of the crab fisheries and the setting of fishing limits in the area. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SM
October 13, 2015
A plastic tag is attached to a crab by a researcher from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center...
TYASKIN, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
A plastic tag is attached to a crab by a researcher from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) on a boat in the Nanticoke River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, near Tyaskin, Maryland August 25, 2015. SERC offers a reward to people who find a tagged crab. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SF
October 13, 2015
Researcher Keira Heggie from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) releases a crab back...
TYASKIN, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Researcher Keira Heggie from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) releases a crab back into the water after tagging it with a plastic marker as part of a study in the Nanticoke River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, near Tyaskin, Maryland August 25, 2015. A $5 reward is offered for some of the crabs and others a $50 reward, the difference helping to determine the accuracy of the data. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SH
October 13, 2015
Researchers from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) tag crabs and release them back...
TYASKIN, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Researchers from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) tag crabs and release them back into the Nanticoke River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, near Tyaskin, Maryland August 25, 2015. The researchers assume that most people who catch the $50-labelled crab will phone in the tag number to collect their reward. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SD
October 13, 2015
A mating pair of crabs, or "doublers" in the local parlance, skirt the grass along the shore near the...
TAYLORS ISLAND, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
A mating pair of crabs, or "doublers" in the local parlance, skirt the grass along the shore near the Taylors Island Wildlife Management Area in Taylors Island, Maryland August 27, 2015. A male crab attaches himself to a female when she has moulted her hard shell and is nearly ready to mate. He latches onto her for a day or two while they mate and protects her until her new shell has hardened. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48SK
October 13, 2015
Professional waterman Danny Richardson tries to fit one more crab into a bushel basket as he works a...
CHOPTANK RIVER, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Professional waterman Danny Richardson tries to fit one more crab into a bushel basket as he works a trot line on the Choptank River near Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48S3
October 13, 2015
Waterman Dwane Paul delivers his day's catch at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's...
FISHING CREEK, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Waterman Dwane Paul delivers his day's catch at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. Paul's two sons have followed him into the fishing trade, although he had hopes they might choose a different profession. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48S4
October 13, 2015
Workers unload bushel baskets of live blue crabs into a large carriage before pressure steaming them...
FISHING CREEK, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Workers unload bushel baskets of live blue crabs into a large carriage before pressure steaming them at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. The industry faces other headwinds, environmental issues and an increasingly global agricultural market among them. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48S6
October 13, 2015
Workers unload bushel baskets of live blue crabs into a large carriage before pressure steaming them...
FISHING CREEK, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Workers unload bushel baskets of live blue crabs into a large carriage before pressure steaming them at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. Last year's harvest was the lowest recorded in 25 years after the crab population crashed in the 1990s and early 2000s. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RZ
October 13, 2015
Workers unload bushel baskets of live blue crabs into a large carriage before pressure steaming them...
FISHING CREEK, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Workers unload bushel baskets of live blue crabs into a large carriage before pressure steaming them at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RJ
October 13, 2015
A worker unloads a carriage of cooked crabs from a large pressure steamer at the A.E. Phillips & Son...
FISHING CREEK, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
A worker unloads a carriage of cooked crabs from a large pressure steamer at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. The crabs will be chilled overnight before the meat is picked the next morning by guest workers who make up the picking house's primary workforce during the April-November season each year. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48S9
October 13, 2015
A large stainless steel shovel lies on top of steamed crabs at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking...
FISHING CREEK, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
A large stainless steel shovel lies on top of steamed crabs at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. Workers speed through the lump and back fin meat inside the crabs while leaving the more tedious task of picking the claws to others. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RK
October 13, 2015
Mexican workers, on the U.S. H2B visa program for seasonal guest workers, process crabs at the A.E. Phillips...
FISHING CREEK, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Mexican workers, on the U.S. H2B visa program for seasonal guest workers, process crabs at the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house on Hooper's Island in Fishing Creek, Maryland August 26, 2015. Phillips has claimed pioneering status in the Chesapeake crab industry since 1956, when they opened their own restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, and today still run the picking operation on Hooper's Island to provide crabs to their network of eateries. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RF
October 13, 2015
Workers from the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house make purchases at a "tienda" (shop) after...
Cambridge, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Workers from the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house make purchases at a "tienda" (shop) after driving from Hooper's Island to Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. On most Fridays, the guest workers, who live above the crab-picking workshop for the six-month duration of their H2B visas, drive to the bigger town of Cambridge to go shopping and meet friends who work in other crab houses. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RH
October 13, 2015
Mexican guest workers from the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house wheel baskets full of goods...
Cambridge, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Mexican guest workers from the A.E. Phillips & Son Inc. crab picking house wheel baskets full of goods and groceries on a shopping excursion at Walmart after driving from Hooper's Island to Cambridge, Maryland August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RG
October 13, 2015
Crisfield Police Chief Michael Tabor prepares to fire the starter pistol for a crab "race" during the...
Crisfield, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Crisfield Police Chief Michael Tabor prepares to fire the starter pistol for a crab "race" during the annual National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland September 5, 2015. The town of Crisfield hosts the festival each year to celebrate and highlight the importance of the crab industry to their economy. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RB
October 13, 2015
Crabs "race" for contestants' bragging rights during the annual National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield,...
Crisfield, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Crabs "race" for contestants' bragging rights during the annual National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland September 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RC
October 13, 2015
A contestant cheers for the start of the crab-picking contest, for professional pickers from local seafood...
Crisfield, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
A contestant cheers for the start of the crab-picking contest, for professional pickers from local seafood businesses, during the annual National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland September 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48R7
October 13, 2015
Contestants argue with organisers after they said that they caught someone cheating in the crab-picking...
Crisfield, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Contestants argue with organisers after they said that they caught someone cheating in the crab-picking contest during the annual National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland September 5, 2015. The competition, for professional pickers from local seafood businesses, has a $250 prize. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RD
October 13, 2015
Linton's Seafood shop and restaurant advertises crabs for sale in the Eastern Shore town of Crisfield,...
Crisfield, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Linton's Seafood shop and restaurant advertises crabs for sale in the Eastern Shore town of Crisfield, Maryland September 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
USA-ENVIRONMENT/CRAB
RTS48RA
October 13, 2015
Diners eat blue crabs as the sun sets over the Kent Narrows at Harris Crab House in Grasonville, Maryland...
GRASONVILLE, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Crab-Catching Blues
Diners eat blue crabs as the sun sets over the Kent Narrows at Harris Crab House in Grasonville, Maryland September 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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