Sandy blamed for dismal crab season - NBC40.net

Sandy blamed for dismal crab season

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EGG HARBOR TWP. -

Crabbing season this year has been tougher than years past.

"We keep thinking tomorrows going to get better, tomorrows going to get better, but we haven't seen it yet," says John Ernst, owner of Crabby Daddy's Live Crabs.

This hurricane season has been relatively quite for the most part, but the effects of last year's Hurricane Sandy is still loud and clear. Especially when it comes to the crabbing industry.

"It actually has been pretty bad. Probably half the catches from what we've been getting for the last 10 to 15 years," says Ernst.

John Ernst, has felt the pinch of low crab populations since the beginning of this year's crabbing season.

"We believe it was Hurricane Sandy, from when the storm blew in, it washed away all the mud and the crabs," says Ernst. "Most of the time, I don't even get paid. I just try to pay the guys that are working for me," he continues.

Ernst also says that this season has been so tough that he even had to take some drastic measures.

"It was so bad, to the fact that we were trying to buy crabs to sell crabs, but we couldn't find them from here to South Carolina," he explains.

According to experts, effects of the storm have possibly caused the drop in crab population, or forced the crustaceans to find shelter elsewhere.

"There's a tremendous amount of surge waters that entered the mainland prior to the storm, and during the storm. Also, what happened was this tremendous amount of wave action attacking these beaches and dunes, and causes a lot of erosion," explains Dr. Daniel Barone of Stockton College.

Which causes sediment and soil build up and could possibly kill off vegetation the crabs feed off of at the bottom of the bay. But, the silver lining along this dark cloud is that Ernst is beginning to see a positive sign that things are turning around.

"We've noticed a lot of smaller crabs, and that's a result of the pregnant females having eggs. So yea, we see the future is bright," claims Ernst.

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