Crab Factory

With the bay in decline, Asian fisheries rise - catching, picking, packaging Maryland's signature food

A Sun Special Report

April 30, 2006|By ARTICLE BY GADY A. EPSTEIN AND STEPHANIE DESMON | ARTICLE BY GADY A. EPSTEIN AND STEPHANIE DESMON,SUN REPORTERS

DONSAK, THAILAND -- By 9 a.m. the crab boats have already been coming and going from the pier for close to five hours, with migrant Burmese workers laboring to unload, sort, weigh and steam crabs that are destined for dinner plates on the other side of the world.

Presiding over this assembly line are Nantanee and Somsak Choeyklin, who remember when this crustacean that made them rich was only junk and they were poor. The blue swimming crab, known in Thailand as "horse crab," mottled and bluish-green, was little more than subsistence food when their parents were fishermen.

Tomorrow In Asia and in Maryland, a chain of workers brings crab to American diners.

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