CRISFIELD -- Maryland health authorities seized 297 pounds of alleged black market crab meat as it was being unloaded at the city dock.
The meat, which health officials believe had not been inspected as required under state law, was carried to Crisfield from Smith Island aboard a passenger ferry during a routine trip across Tangier Sound.
The meat was confiscated at the dock yesterday after state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene inspectors, assisted by Natural Resources Police, received a tip that illegal seafood was being ferried to the Somerset County mainland, said health department spokesman Mike Golden.
Authorities believed the crab meat was intended to be sold illegally for commercial consumption, but local sources said much of the seafood was being returned to its owners because it had been confiscated before being sold.
Samples of the meat were taken to the department's Baltimore laboratory, where it was being analyzed for bacteria, said Mr. Golden.