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Scraping for soft crabs on Tylerton, Smith Island, Maryland

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Published on Dec 4, 2006

1989. Smith Island is an isolated community of watermen in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. The blue crabs seek out the grasses around the islands' shallow waters. Here, they wait to shed their shells.

A Chesapeake Bay Foundation member shows young people how the watermen "Scrape" for "Peelers". If a crab's backfin shows a certain color, it is ready to shed. Those crabs are brought back and kept in a trough of bay water. When they shed their shells, they are put on ice to prevent the new shell from hardening.

The last scene shows a row of shanties where the crabs are kept.

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