Crab Fisherman, Rock Point Maryland, Crab Sign, and Fishing For Crabs at Colonial Beach by Arthur Rothstein,  1919-1926. Collections of the Library of Congress.

With the crab population so precipitously low in the Chesapeake this year, some groups are calling for a moratorium on the crabbing harvest. Crabs are still an icon of the Chesapeake, and play a central role in our summer picnics and seafood industry, but the low harvests are driving prices up and raising concerns about the long-term future of the crabbing industry.

That said, it’s always nice to remember the good old days, when crabs were fat, plentiful, and cheap. These images from the 1930’s reflect a Bay that was still a vital resource- providing hundred of thousands of bushels of the prized delicacies, to be steamed in vinegar scented water and piled high with clouds of  Old Bay.