Blue crabs are an important part of the state's commercial fishing industry, contributing $30 million a year. Many of the crabs caught in the Pamlico River are brought to the Crab Ranch on North Creek near Bath where they are graded by size. However, in the past seventeen years crabbing has declined. At its 1996 peak, over eight million pounds of blue crabs were caught in the Pamlico, but in 2011, slightly less than 3 million pounds were brought. Hurricanes seem to be the culprit as they have disrupted blue crab habitats.