Already months behind schedule, commercial crabbers eagerly ventured out to sea Tuesday after fishermen in three harbors held off until they could settle on a price with buyers.
Commercial fishermen in Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay, San Francisco and Bodega Bay united in waiting a few extra days to negotiate with wholesale buyers before accepting $2.90 per pound then rushing out to begin crabbing.
“A few boats, three or four, went out last night. But almost everybody in all the other ports stayed in,” said commercial fisherman Porter McHenry, president of the Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association. “We all stayed pretty much united to make sure we had a price before we went fishing.”
Despite a few initial offers of $2.75 per pound, buyers and fishermen settled on the higher price Tuesday morning with crabbing boats eagerly parading out to sea shortly thereafter, McHenry said as he left Pillar Point to go fishing.
The nearly five-month delay due to the crustaceans previously testing positive for high levels of the neurotoxin domoic acid caused significant hardship for those whose livelihoods depend on California’s $90 million annual industry. But several locals were willing to wait a few extra days, particularly as the weather wasn’t ideal. Opting not to venture out last Friday allowed buyers and crabbers to settle on price and make sure the crustaceans were still yielding a high percentage of meat.