Seafood Industry Complains of Tightened Labor Market, Begs Trump to Import More Foreign Workers


President Trump’s tightened labor market is giving Maryland’s seafood industry reason to complain, mainly because they want to import more foreign workers to do U.S. blue-collar jobs.

For weeks, media outlets printed warnings from Maryland’s seafood companies of an impending “labor shortage” with the latest claims coming from the Wall Street Journal where businesses say they want more foreign workers to come to the U.S. through the H-2B visa program.

The complaints center around Maryland’s seafood industry and specifically crab-picking jobs. For decades, companies have imported mostly Mexican women to do the grueling crab-picking work, housing them in remote locations where they have little interaction outside of their job.

This year, seafood companies are complaining that they need more foreign workers. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association, which represents the roughly 20 licensed processors in Maryland, says this year’s randomized allocation has left the state’s industry short about 200 workers, almost half the seasonal workforce, typically all from Mexico.

Relief may be on the way. DHS is expected to soon issue an additional 15,000 H-2B visas. But Maryland’s desperate crab processors say even if they get visas, it will be weeks before any Mexican workers can make what for some is a 2,500-mile trek north, so the unlucky firms will remain sidelined as crab season kicks into high gear.

The unexpected worker shortage for some businesses has upended the economy on Hoopers Island. Processors that don’t have pickers aren’t buying crabs. Those crabbers aren’t buying bait fish from local fishermen. The combination has slashed sales at the Hoopers Island General Store to its lowest level in six years, said owner Katie Doll.

As Breitbart News reported, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is expected to give big businesses more foreign workers through the H-2B visa program, even though the Maryland seafood industry has already been able to import 300 foreign workers this year.

Now, there are expected to be more than 80,000 H-2B foreign workers that big business will be allowed to import to do blue-collar jobs like the crab-picking work.

The pleading for more workers by the seafood industry often drowns out research and data that reveals how the H-2B visa program drives down the wages of Americans and turns foreign workers into indentured servants.

Research conducted by the American University’s Washington College of Law found that the crab-pickers’ isolation and “limited contact” with others “breeds reliance on employers, who already wield significant power over the women.”

In one case, a Mexican H-2B worker said her employer put her and seven other women in a trailer with a tiny kitchen and bathroom. Meanwhile, the foreign workers’ salaries rely on the amount of crab meat they pick for the day. Sometimes, these workers are only given two days a week to work.  more here

18 Comments on Seafood Industry Complains of Tightened Labor Market, Begs Trump to Import More Foreign Workers

  1. Next door in Baltimore there are tens of thousands of unemployed males, females, young, middle age and old. Nope, let’s bring in Mexicans, house them in slave conditions and pay them slave wages.

  2. Not only NO . . .
    HELL NO ! ! !

    Major Mal Function point is not a glitch.

    MD Dwellers better learn to catch Blues on their own.
    Chicken necks and a string for Congress if they import foreign workers over underemployed American workers.

  3. Why not pay a fair wage and add a dollar a pound to the lobster and crab?
    They are not exactly a price-sensitive commodity.
    Bring in H1Bs to process this stuff is nothing less than subsidizing the lobster eaters with tax payer funds.
    Screw that!
    If you can afford lobster, you can afford to pay legitimately competitive wages to process it.


    I gladly volunteer not to eat ANY MD seafood now, if this happens. I will be watching and Yelling.

    Mud Bugs: the New Old Lobster

  5. And plantations said they needed slaves to be profitable too. Somehow the south still manages to grow and sell cotton after all the negros left.

  6. Curtailing our taxpayer subsidized labor has caused our profits to suffer. Screw Americans needing jobs, we could care less.

  7. Black dudes in Baltimore
    could pick crab instead of
    rob & kill people.

  8. SCJ Clarance Thomas’ mother picked crabs.
    The area is overfished anyway.
    Let the crabs come back, nobody is going to go hungry because there is no canned crab on the shelves.
    I love crab, also love catching, cooking and picking them myself.
    With the proliferation of commercial traps, the citizen has a small chance of catching a mess.
    Maybe the price will come down under $50 a bushel.
    The waterman will survive, they act like it’s the end of the world, nope, it’s the end of the world for the rich processor paying slave wages to third world pickers.

  9. @Paralithodes Camtschaticus May 15, 2018 at 2:46 am

    > Chicken necks and a string for Congress if they import foreign workers

    I hope you mean more foriegners! Because the bribe…er…screaching is about not getting more than the hundreds they’re already “allocated”.

  10. @Racer X May 15, 2018 at 8:47 am

    > It makes no sense to bring in unskilled labor and then pay Americans not to work.

    That depends on who pockets all that “left over” money. Now doesn’t it?

  11. “For decades, companies have imported mostly Mexican women to do the grueling crab-picking work”

    Uh huh. Those mexicans y’all imported (are you hearing me, crony chamber of commerce?) displaced hundreds of families who did the seasonal work for over a hundred years. Check the unemployment stats for blacks on the Eastern Shore. It’s not grueling like digging a ditch is grueling. More like tedious. Women used to have contests to see who could pick more crabmeat in a timed event. Now that that particular labor pool has been enervated and corrupted, you’re going to whine? You broke it, you buy it.

  12. Ain’t there no prisons nearby?
    Let those bastards work for a living instead of sitting around watching cable.
    Same with farm labor.
    $.20 cents an hour sounds about right.

  13. AWWW C’mon….all of you have forgotten that only the “best & brightest” can get the crab meat out of the crab leg….

  14. Such a conundrum. Per Commerce Sec Wilbur Ross, the US imports 80% of our seafood from other countries (much of which is farm raised under unregulated conditions disallowed in the US). Given we’re surrounded by deep sea/gulf waters on 3 borders, this is yet another trade deference to global corp.

    Who but greedy corp conglomerates have the audacity to strip US workers of jobs and cry they need to import foreign workers?

  15. I have this uncommon skill. I can get crab and lobster meat out of it’s shell all by myself. My problem is having crab and lobster shipped here and affordable…

    3-5 years ago Lobster was cheaper then hamburger on the east coast (Lobster glut) and 16$ a pound around me….they make their own problems….


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