Two years ago, you could pretty much bank on it: Leave the dock at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and be back by 9 with a bushel or so of scrappy male crabs. Then it was just a matter of hooking up the cooker, herding the crabs into the steamer and sitting back for the 25 minutes or so it takes to turn them red and scrumptious.
In the evening it was crabs for six or eight or however many you could gather, followed by a picking session that left you with a pound or two of flaky white meat for crabcakes. That was the norm, from June to September, as it had been for the decade or more since I took up crabbing and for a century before that. Sometimes it was more than a bushel, sometimes less, but always there was a proper mess for supper if you took the trouble to go out.
Last year the bottom fell out. No one is quite sure why, but after an initial run in June, the crabs went scarce. It was eerie, because even in mediocre crabbing years, you catch a lot of little throwbacks, and in the fall there were always many females, which recreational crabbers are required to toss back for conservation. (Commercial crabbers, for inscrutable reasons, are allowed to keep females.)
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National Fisherman Live: 10/21/14
In this episode:
North Pacific Council adjusts observer program
Fishermen: bluefin fishing best in 10 years
Catch limit raised for Bristol Bay red king crab
Canadian fishermen fight over lobster size rules
River conference addresses Dead Zone cleanup
National Fisherman Live: 10/7/14
In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about the 1929 dragger Vandal.
NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association will host its 4th Annual Marin County Dinner at Marin Catholic High School, 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield on Friday, Oct 10, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.