‘Outrageous’ — DC seafood market says prices are soaring

Fiona Lewis, co-owner of the the District Fishwife at Union Market in D.C. reacts to skyrocketing seafood prices. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

Disruptions to supply chains due to the pandemic is just one of the reasons why the seafood you buy at the market these days might be breaking your budget.

At Union Market in D.C., District Fishwife usually has Maryland crab meat for $14 to $18 for a half pound. Right now, it’s $21.

“Availability is down, crabs are hard to find right now,” said Fiona Lewis, co-owner of District Fishwife.

She said it’s something she’s not used to.

“Outrageous pricing. More than it’s been in 10 years,” Lewis said.

The annual winter drudge survey by Virginia and Maryland Bay scientists show a 30% drop in crab population.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission, which regulates and controls commercial fisheries production, said seafood production there has dropped almost 90%.

“It’s just gonna take some time,” Lewis said. “It’s putting a lot of pressure on the domestic market.”

Despite the high price points, Lewis said people are still buying.

“I think the exciting thing is for us, because of the pandemic, more people learn how to cook seafood,” Lewis said.

She said, however, some seafood isn’t seeing big price increases.

“People are buying more shrimp, more squid,” Lewis said. “There are some more affordable seafood proteins.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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