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Dangerous Surf Threatens Bay Area Christmas Crab Supply

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - A Bay Area Christmas dinner favorite - Dungeness crab - may not make it to the table this year. Dangerous waves battering the coastline are to blame.

"The phones have been ringing all day long, we'd love to help them out. If we had the crabs, we would help out everybody, but we can't," said Annette Traverso, president of Alioto-Lazio Fish Company.

All of the live Dungeness crabs on display are spoken for, she said.

The recent monster waves have kept fishermen and their boats, especially those from the Oregon and Washington area, on land, according to Traverso.

"Instead of 30,000 pounds coming in, we're looking at 3,000 to 7,000 pounds of crab and that's not a whole lot," she said.

During a normal year, Alioto-Lazio Fish Company says the tanks are so full of crabs, they have to store the live lobsters in boxes. Not this year.

On Saturday night, at Nick's Lighthouse, there was no live crab on the menu.

"Nobody has live crab, not any of the fisherman have live crab right now, but we're supposed to have it tomorrow," said manager Eduardo Vivanco.

Nick's Lighthouse says because of the crab shortage, the price per pound has gone up to $17.95. When the season opened last month, it was $12.95.

"I feel bad, I don't like to sell frozen crab," said Vivanco. "I like to sell live ones, fresh ones."

Vivanco said he expects to have live crab to sell on Christmas, though it's unclear if he will have enough to meet customer demand.

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