Call this a case of the blue crab blues.
Just the notion that the Lowcountry delicacies are in trouble is enough to make you crawl sideways into the pluff mud and gnaw on a raw chicken neck.
A headline last month in The (Charleston) Post and Courier asked: "Blue crab threatened by high-dollar harvest?"
In our paper, the headline read: "Crabbing off to slow start, local fishermen say."
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Commercial crabbers around Charleston are putting out more crab pots, but not attracting many crabs.
Someone said you could practically walk across the Intracoastal Waterway on all the crab pots as crabbers try to cash in on the supply-and-demand price of $100 per bushel for the best crabs.
Recreational crabbers say they're getting squeezed out by the commercial action, and a declining resource. Gone is the day, they say, that you could easily catch a good mess of crabs with a chicken neck on a string.
Everyone says the catch is trending down, and possible overfishing would be just one of many reasons.
Even though old salts in Beaufort County say these things can run in cycles and better days could be right around the bend, it's enough to make you sing the blue crab blues.
Other states are suffering, too.
Around the Chesapeake Bay, where they'd have you to believe crabs were invented, two states are addressing the problem.
Virginia has just demanded a 10 percent reduction in the harvest of female crabs. Maryland is likely to follow suit.
The reasons for the decline in crabs are many, but reducing the harvest is said to be about the only tool the states have to quickly do something to protect a species.
South Carolina would not have that ability because its oversight of commercial crabbing is wide open. All you have to do is pay a minimal fee to set out crab traps, and there is no limit to how many you can put out, or what can be caught.
I'm not the sharpest crab in the creek, but it seems to me we need a better handle on a situation as serious as the health of the beloved blue crab.
And it should not take an act of the state legislature to set policy on something that should be scientifically, not politically, determined.
To show you how that works, the legislature has willy-nilly picked several waterways from all those in the state and declared them off limits to commercial crabbers.
Say our blue crabs were in dire peril. Say we wanted to keep that from happening. South Carolina is in a poor position to do anything, and that is nuts.
It's hard to say whether the blue crab or the Lowcountry residents first grabbed each other by the claw and hung on for dear life.
The "Sea Island Seasons" cookbook first published in 1980 by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust helps tell why. It has 29 recipes with crab in it, from Bud's Crab Imperial to Tidalholm Seafood Chowder.
John Martin Taylor says in "Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking" that the crabs of our county are the finest of the fine.
"A much as I love Charleston and Edisto," he writes, "something dramatic happens when you cross Port Royal Sound, a culinary boundary as real as the geographic Fall Line."
When we were baptized into the Lowcountry life in the mid-1970s, our Ridgeland neighbors invited us outside for a no-see-um swatting and sloppy crab crack. And they told us to chill out: "Watched pot never boils, eh Bo?"
We soon could fill a washtub with muddy old Jimmys big enough to sport a bumper sticker.
And a lady named Albertha shared her recipe for deviled crab. We still haven't worked our way up to the four tablespoons of hot sauce she calls for, but we've found nothing better than their sweet, salty, buttery spunk.
Crabs are endearing because they are dumb enough for even me to catch.
And therein would lie the greatest tragedy in the demise of the Lowcountry blue crab.
Blue crabs tug at us to slide away from the crowd, sit on a low-hanging oak limb, and let a warm marsh breeze silently soothe our souls.
Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.