Storms dampen late season start
Recent storms kept many local crab fishermen off the waters for days — a crucial time to be sitting out.
As of Friday, the boat price for crab was up to $3.25 per pound and production was “steady” after recent storm systems “slowed us to crawl for a few days,” said Rick Harris, plant manager for Pacific Choice Seafood in Eureka, in an email.
In a delayed season like this year’s, crab boats that waited to drop their first pots of the season in North Coast waters get exclusive access to the regions covering Mendocino County to the Oregon line. After 30 days, however, crab vessels that fished elsewhere can get in on the Northern California catch, making storms that prevent fishing even more of a curse to local crabbers.
“I’m just hoping we get some more sunshine between now and the 13th when everyone else starts coming down,” said Jamie Pearce, dock manager for LCZ unloaders.
Fishermen who fished outside of the North Coast can start pulling crabs on Feb. 14.
Pearce expected the boat price to rise in another couple weeks as more and more live buyers come by offering higher prices.
“Once the big bulk of crab get knocked off by the opener, the influx of crab goes down and the price goes up,” Pearce said.
Although the local fishery has been open for almost two weeks, there has only been a handful of days of favorable fishing weather.
“There were a few boats that fished through the storm just trying to get a day out of it, but we’ve only had three whole days of fishing so far,” Pearce said Friday. “Luckily this weather broke for them, and they are going to get a chance to get their crab” before the region opens to other fishermen, Pearce said, adding that he thinks the catch is just getting started.
The crab vessel Dynamik, brought a record haul into the Port of Brookings Harbor last week, with 67,300 pounds of crab worth $201,900, according to the Curry Coastal Pilot.
“Weather is good for well into next week, and with that we should get a good read as to what the season really looks like,” said Harris.