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Crab Prices Skyrocket As Demand Increases For The Tasty Crustaceans

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

People who love to go to a restaurant and order crab have noticed that some spots are charging more or they don't have any crab at all. What's to blame? The pandemic.

SAMEUL D'ANGELO: There's less fishermen, less truck drivers to move the product. These containers that bring the product in from overseas are in short supply, as well, because of the inability for these vessels to get to the port of destination.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Samuel D'Angelo is a fifth-generation seafood distributor with Samuels Seafood Company in Philadelphia. He says in 50 years, he's never seen the industry quite like this.

D'ANGELO: These shortages are not just crab, but they're affecting other seafoods, other food items - beef, chicken, turkeys, pork.

PFEIFFER: Demand is up. Supply is down. So prices have skyrocketed as much as 50%.

INSKEEP: And while he would not consider this a crab crisis for wholesalers, he says he would call it one for some restaurants he supplies, especially if crab is the house specialty.

D'ANGELO: For the average restaurant owner that's family-owned, small operation, they're just trying to deal with their current situation and trying to get their customers' needs met.

INSKEEP: To do that, supply bottlenecks and labor shortages will have to ease up.

D'ANGELO: I try to just not hit the panic button. And we'll keep our fingers crossed and hope that things do get back to normal by 2022.

PFEIFFER: But if you can't wait that long, D'Angelo has a recommendation.

D'ANGELO: Crabs and spaghetti. Crabs and spaghetti. You know, cook a blue crab in a nice tomato sauce. And then as the sauce simmers and cooks and achieves the flavor of the crab, you just pour it over the spaghetti. And you eat your spaghettis, and you crack your crabs. And it's a great dish.

(SOUNDBITE OF JACK JEZZRO'S "THAT'S AMORE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.