Long Delayed Dungeness Crab Season Finally Get Underway
BODEGA BAY (CBS SF) – Northern California fisherman began their mad dash for the Dungeness crab fishing grounds Tuesday after accepting a suppliers price for a pound of the delicacy.
The fishermen gathered at local meeting halls and voted to accept the $2.90 as pound wholesale price and get the long delayed commercial crab fishing season underway.
Officials said fresh locally caught crab should be on fish market and store counters by Thursday and will likely be priced at twice the wholesale price.
Last week, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials announced the opening of both the recreational and commercial fisheries after recent tests showed that domoic acid levels in crabs caught off the coast of California south of the Mendocino-Sonoma County line no longer posed a risk to human health.
Following the announcement, the recreational Dungeness crab season in the area opened on March 18.
As local fishermen get ready for the commercial season, many are concerned that they won't be able to regain the revenue lost during the closure, according to
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations Executive Director Tim Sloane.
"There are big concerns, since a vast majority of revenue happens during the first six to eight weeks of fishing season," Sloane said, adding that fishermen "didn't get to take advantage of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Lunar New Year or the Super Bowl."
The commercial crab season was initially scheduled to start Nov. 17, but remained closed after public health officials determined crabs had high levels of domoic acid, a neurotoxin that can be harmful to humans if eaten.
Domoic acid is caused by an algal bloom.
The shutdown had caused an estimated $48 million in losses to the industry as of last month, according to state officials.
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