The Pacific Coast crabbers strike has been the talk of the industry for the past two weeks.

Fishermen and processors in Oregon agreed to a starting price of $3 a pound in early December, but processors lowered the price to $2.75 just before Christmas for fishermen in Oregon and northern California. This triggered a coastwide strike that ended this weekend with fishermen and processors meeting in the middle for a price of $2.875 a pound. 

This isn’t the first time processors have shifted prices around the holiday season. Looking back at our February 2007 issue, we covered a similar story of a Dungeness crab price strike.

West Coast crabbers remained tied to the docks during the first week of December during a price dispute. San Francisco and central California crabbers hit the water during the early opening and received $1.85 a pound for their efforts (a dime or two more than they had been paid in 2005). Crabbers farther north were expecting similar prices, but processors started off with an initial offering of $1.40 a pound.

Fishermen said no way.

One processor offered $1.60 a pound, but only after Jan. 1 — a clear attempt to pay lower prices during the holiday season. In 2006, the season had been delayed until January as a result of quality concerns.

Eventually, the industry and processors decided to do extensive testing in the early weeks of December and agreed that if the quality was good all-around, they would pay $1.60.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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