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Photo of Crab Fisherman. Rock Point, Maryland, September, 1936.
A Maryland crab fisherman holding up one of his catches of the day

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Cracking Crabs in Maryland
Do you know what a "jimmy" is?

Jimmies, callinectes sapidus, beautiful swimmers, channelers, sooks, and she-crabs -- are all names for the blue crab, a crustacean found in the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is a large bay on the Atlantic coast of the United States. It has played an important role in the history and culture of the state of Maryland.

Chesapeake Bay fishermen, or watermen, have harvested the waters for crabs, oysters, clams, and fish for many generations. They work in skipjacks, a name for workboats or fishing boats. Commercial fishing was a huge industry in Maryland, but pollution has caused a decrease in the population of the bay's marine life. Consequently, many watermen struggle to maintain their way of life.

Nevertheless, Marylanders love their crab and eat them by the bushel at crab houses. These restaurants cover their tables with brown paper, unload a bushel of crabs on the table and provide knives and mallets for customers to pry the crabs open. Have you ever eaten a crab?

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