First Dungie catch expected today

Many local crab fishermen worked through the night Thursday, out on the water setting traps with the season’s first catch expected to hit docks today after an agreement was reached with wholesale buyers to purchase the crustaceans at a price of $2.65 a pound.

Until Thursday, local Dungeness crab fishermen and buyers had been at a stalemate in negotiations since the season officially opened Dec. 1, with buyers offering $2.50 a pound and fishermen asking for $3. Neither side moved locally, but the $2.65 price came out of Oregon, where a state-mediated negotiation between fishermen and wholesalers concluded Wednesday night in advance of that region’s Dec. 15 season opening.

“The fish companies won,” said local fisherman Paul Pelligrini. “Fifteen cents wasn’t worth two weeks (of waiting).”

Local fisherman Dave Bitts said that once the Oregon price was set, local fishermen had little choice but to accept it. He said most local fishermen showed up at a Fishermen’s Marketing Association meeting Thursday morning and agreed it was time to hit the water.

”After that meeting, we all jumped in our rigs and raced to the docks,” he said. “All in all, I’d say it was a very calm and measured start, given the circumstances.”

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