November 14, 2013
The docks of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf were teeming with life; forklifts zipped in every direction, hoists lowered stacks of crab traps onto waiting boats, and fishermen stocked their boats with ice and bait.
“This year’s a go,” said fisherman Rich Fitzpatrick as he leaned on a metal rail taking in the action. “Tomorrow morning we’ll be setting our gear.”
Commercial fishermen heading out for the prized Dungeness crabs are allowed to begin setting their traps at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, and begin hauling in their catch Friday when the season opens.
For years, Fitzpatrick and his fellow local fishermen have fretted over the start of every commercial season, especially when large boats hauling thousands of traps from Oregon and Washington would turn up.
Smaller boat operators complained the larger boats wiped out the crab population soon after the season opened.
But this year, for the first time, California implemented crab pot regulations, limiting the number of traps each boat could use.