Maryland Crab Tries for Sustainable Certification

In an effort to edge out competition, the state applies for certification to boost sales

The sweet taste of succulent Maryland crab is a source of pride for the state, but despite the delicacy's flavor, the crab industry needs a boost. In an effort to rev up sales, Maryland has applied for sustainable certification for its crabs.

The certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) would apply to the blue crab harvest from the Chesapeake Bay, reports the Associated Press, and is predicted to be "huge" for sales. The goal for certification is to lure in the conscientious consumer who wants to know where their food comes from.

However, certification certainly won't make the meat any cheaper. Although Maryland crab is the state's biggest moneymaker (bringing in $52 million in 2009), it's a pricy fish, at nearly $20 per pound. And the market for crab is growing; new regions for crab include Venezuela, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Far East.

Maryland crabbers are hoping a new certification will give them an edge in the market, despite cheaper alternatives. According to one Whole Foods survey, nearly 60 percent of their customers consider sustainability of a product when buying, said the Associated Press.

Sustainable seafood is hardly limited to Maryland; the MSC reports that there are nearly 10,000 sustainable seafood products sold in 40 countries. There's an easy resource to check whether your seafood — halibut, shrimp, scallops, red lobster — are MSC certified: check the web site to find where to buy certified fish.