But its impacts extend beyond Krieger: Roughly 30 crabbers and fishermen on average lost at least $300,000 worth of equipment in Saturday's blaze, according to the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association, with an estimated total loss of $9 million. As the wreckage is inspected in the coming days, that number may grow.
The economic hit comes as fishermen are already reeling from plummeting sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we all kind of just felt like it couldn't get worse,” Krieger said. “But it got way worse.”
While the Port of San Francisco, which owns Pier 45, requires tenants to have insurance, as of Sunday the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association said it was unsure how much of the equipment loss insurance would cover — if any at all.
Crabbers speaking to KQED estimate half of Fisherman’s Wharf fishermen, the workers who give the place its name, saw their equipment go up in flames in the Pier 45 fire.
“The business of crabbing is an inextricable part of what San Francisco is. It’s part of our reputation and our economy,” said San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents Fisherman’s Wharf.
Peskin added, “We’ve got a little bit of time between now and November to figure this thing out, but if it’s a philanthropic campaign or assistance, we need to get the crabbers back on their feet.”
While that effort may yet bear fruit, it’s likely that for the coming crab season, which starts in November, the crustaceans on Bay Area diners’ plates will be ones caught by fishermen from elsewhere in California who sail to San Francisco’s waters every season.
San Franciscan-caught crab may be off the menu, or at least scarce.
San Francisco fishermen have started a GoFundMe campaign with hopes of raising money to replace their lost gear. They’re also waiting to see if San Francisco steps up with economic assistance.