If you took walk along the Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay on a typical winter weekend, it would be buzzing with activity.

“You’d hear a lot of diesels running from everywhere in the harbor, coming and going and staying tied up, and pumping water on their crab. You can almost hear it from the next town over,” says Jake Bunch, one of the harbor’s dozens of crab fishermen, describes.

But right now, it’s quiet.

That’s because scientists found an unsafe level of a toxin in the local crabs this year. It’s there because of a big concentration of algae along the west coast, called algal bloom. The commercial crabbing season is on hold indefinitely.

Jake Bunch got into crabbing three years ago, and spent a lot of money on a permit. He didn’t want to share how much, but a crabbing permit can cost up to $200,000.

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