Commercial crab season delayed in SF again

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Those Bay Area families that are looking forward to their tradition of enjoying local Dungeness crab on Thanksgiving, will have one less thing to be thankful for this year.

That’s because, for the second year in a row, the commercial crab season has been delayed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Because of this delay, the crab pots stacked up on Pier 45 will not be going into the water on November 15 but instead will be staying here high and dry until at least December 1.

This is all over concerns about the possibility of migrating whales getting tangled up attached to the fishing gear.

For those who sell live Dungeness crab like the Alioto Lazio Fish Company here on the Wharf, the start of the local crab season is a huge deal.

Now that it’s pushed back until at least December 1st it’s a tough blow, both for the wholesalers and the customers who were hoping to maintain at least some holiday traditions.

“The two-week delay is devastation, more challenges than we’ve been facing in 2020 people want their Thanksgiving crab whether they’re able to celebrate with all their family or not. It’s still a part of the comfort zone. On one hand, you want to make sure consumers can get their product on the other hand you’re worried about the fisherman that you’ve worked with her all these decades and how are they gonna pay off their personal loans,” says an Alioto Lazio Fish worker.

Loans she says that were taken out to replace gear burned up during the massive Pier 45 fire back in December.  

But the president of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association, who himself lost gear in that fire says while it might mean fishermen get paid later and possibly get a lower price for their haul, they support the decision to delay.

“I don’t wanna be portrayed as being really upset that we can’t go fishing because we don’t care about whales that is not the case we are all part of the process in deciding whether or not we should go in a group of fishermen were on a task force to the side voted to recommend to the fish and wildlife to delay the season because of the number of whales that were present we are part of the process,” John Barnett said.

It’s possible the season could be delayed again.

Last year it was delayed until December 15 for the same reason but for now, the recreational crab fishing season date is still set to open up this Saturday.  

So if you want crab for Thanksgiving, you’ll have to catch it yourself.

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