SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After months of delay, Bay Area crab fishermen on Friday were finally allowed to set their traps off the coast. But other issues are leading those fishermen to stay on shore rather than rushing out to make up for lost time.
Angel Cincotta’s family has been in the San Francisco crab business for decades; the Alioto-Lazio Fish Company is a staple of Fisherman’s Wharf.
“You will never recover what you lost this season. Never,” said Cincotta.
She says this season has been a hard one, but she is being cautiously optimistic that things will turn around. She hope the tanks will be spilling over with Bay Area crab in a matter of days.
“Seeing as we have all lost so much, this had better be very quick,” she said.
Crabber Chris Iverson has the same hope and is ready to get back to doing what he loves, but isn’t rushing into anything.
“It’s frustrating. It’s really frustrating,” said Iverson.
He’s waiting for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to complete the meat quality testing of the crab. That means he won’t be in the water until Tuesday, even though technically, fishermen were allowed to drop their pots at 6:01 a.m. Friday morning.
“We’re all hanging together. No one wants to be the only guy in the ocean,” said Iverson. “That’s how you make enemies. We’ll wait for the quality test even though we’re starving.”
Once the quality testing is completed, the crab fishermen and fish wholesalers will still have to settle on a price per pound, which has been a point of contention in the past.
Even when crabbers do get back to business, there’s some concern over what kind of crab they’ll be getting so late in the season.
“You’re working with Mother Nature,” said Cincotta. “You have to look and salvage what you can.”
The general consensus on the docks is that everyone is ready to move on from all the bad PR the industry got these past few months so they can give the people what they want — crab caught off the coast of California, not Oregon or Washington.
So although crabs can be legally harvested starting at 12:01 Saturday morning, it will probably be about another week until we can all enjoy those Dungeness Bay Area crabs.