OCEAN CITY, Md. - According to the Department of Natural Resources, more than 90% of crab meat sold in Maryland is not from the Chesapeake Bay - now they're working to get more restaurants to buy locally.
Tourists are surprised. "When you go to Maryland, you get Maryland blue crabs - I guess it's just a myth," said Bert Haug of Long Island, NY.
Most agree that restaurants should support the local economy."That's messed up because you want to keep it home and keep the money in the family," said Kingston Holcomb of Baltimore, MD. "It should be here - the watermen here - that's what their job is. I don't know if there's a big difference between the crabs one way or the other - I couldn't tell. But it's the principle, it really is," said Bill of Ocean City.
Restaurant owner Dew Hansen says it's not about the money. "I'm buying strictly for quality and when I'm getting good quality, I'll continue buying there." He admits that a lot of the crab he buys are from the south. "If Maryland crabs are not running to the quality that we use, then we'll move down south, starting with Carolina crabs and as far down as Louisiana once in a while."But he's looking forward to buying more out of the Chesapeake Bay. "I think that the crabs in Maryland are a lot better in the last couple years than they had been in the past, so whatever Natural Resources are doing with them, I think it's been a big improvement."
The Department of Natural Resources has launched a "True Blue" program in which restaurants can voluntarily sign up and pledge to use Maryland crab meat. These restaurants can display a "True Blue" crab logo on their menus to help consumers know they sell Maryland crabs.