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Crab season not even good enough for the birds

By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

Crab season continues to get worse in Del Norte County this year as prices drop after a splurge up north.

According to Crescent City fishermen, the price on Monday, South of Coos Bay, was $1.85 per pound a drop from last weeks price of $2.10. Prices traditionally move upward as the season progresses and catch numbers taper off, but this years financial forecast is still sagging by at least 10 percent to 15 percent from last year.

From what I can see the seasons gotten considerably worse, but I cant see for the tears in my eyes, said the skipper of the Genesis A. Its (the price) affected partly by all the boats hitting the water at the same time after the storms let up in Oregon and Washington, and partly because of tourism being down.

Mike Schiffer and Vern Hartman of the Pollux kept a brave face Monday as they said their vessel was only averaging about one crab per pot this season.

Its very bad, thats all I can say, said Hartman. I usually make about $10,000 by this time. I havent made anywhere near that.

The fishing crew on the Genesis A said this winters storms have done more damage than just keeping the boats off the water.

One thing you have to take into consideration is weve had a month and a half of storms, said the skipper. This has the bottom all shook up. Most of these guys are just pulling their gear out of the mud today.

All of the fishermen agreed the season probably wont get any better until next spring, when the competition will decline somewhat.

Dungeness season in Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties opens on the first Saturday preceding Dec. 1, or on Dec. 1 when it falls on a Saturday.

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