Dungeness crab season officially opens tomorrow, but it could be delayed. Local fishermen are in port today negotiating a price for the crab.
“We do the dance every year between the fleet and the processors, trying to reach a price," says Larry Collins, president of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association. "And we're doing the dance right now.”
This season could be the last before a new law transforms crabbing in the state. Earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 369, a bill that for the first time sets limits on the number of crab traps boats can use, based on what they caught from 2003-2008. The limits range from 250 traps allowed for those with the lowest historic catch to 500 for those with the highest.
“It’s definitely going to make a difference. I think it’s going to flatten the playing field a little bit so there’s not so much inequity between the big boats and little boats,” says Collins.
The few weeks of crab season are grueling for fishermen, as they race to catch all they can before the crabs are fished out. The majority of Dungeness crab is caught in the first two weeks.