Vincent Pham doesn’t need his college classes in finance to know that his latest investment was an unfortunate one.

In May, the 39-year-old San Jose resident sank $250,000 into the purchase of a new crab boat, the 45-foot Five Stars, and docked it in Santa Cruz. Six months later, the Dungeness crab season was shut down indefinitely for the first time in California history because of a toxic algae bloom.

Now Pham, like hundreds of other Northern California fishermen, isn’t making a dime off crabbing. The bills, however, are still coming in.

“It was the wrong year to get started,” said Pham, who hasn’t had much chance to pilot his new boat outside the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor with the season stalled.

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