GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A shortage of crab claws is causing many seafood lovers to search for them at restaurants up and down the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
At Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Gulfport, employees say a pound of crab claws is typically $10. That number has jumped up around $17.
“Actually, I just had table in there and stopped me and said, ‘Thank God you have crab claws. We’ve been to four different restaurants since we’ve been in town and nobody has had them,” said Lindsay Cooper, the general manager at Felix’s.
Many casinos along the Coast the offer seafood, like crab legs and boiled shrimp, have also went up on their prices as the supply dwindles.
And it’s not just in South Mississippi that is seeing this problem. The ever-popular snow crab legs are in short supply from coast.
The price of crabmeat is rising because of the low supply and high demand. One of the reasons for the higher prices is because fishermen just have not been able to keep up with the overwhelming demand as restaurants reopen and restrictions are lifted.
According to an April report by U.S. Foods, higher prices are being reported for king crab, snow crab, and blue crab, with more inventory not expected to return through the end of May.
Crab isn’t the only seafood that has seen a jump in price. U.S. Foods reports that most other types of seafood are also seeing costs go up.
Both white and brown shrimp are seeing higher prices across the country. That trend is expected to continue until the new spring pack in May, as demand increases and inventory decreases.
Producers are reporting slightly higher pricing, and they expect this trend to continue until the new spring pack in May, as demand increases and inventory decreases.
Domestic farm-raised catfish is also reported as being a challenge due to labor issues.
The frozen market for Atlantic-farmed salmon is firming on portions, with algae bloom in Chile expected to cause a long-term issue, according to producers.
The fishing season for scallops just opened April 1 so that market is stable. However, as production continues, producers are predicting higher pricing in the larger sizes due to lack of inventory.
Overall, the USDA’s Consumer Price Index, which is a measure of economy-wide inflation, shows an increase in retail food prices by 0.6 percent from February 2021 to March 2021 before seasonal adjustment. That’s up 2.6 percent from March 2020. The CPI for all food increased 0.2 percent from February 2021 to March 2021, and food prices were 3.5 percent higher than in March 2020.