Once the season finally began in February, commercial fishermen brought more crab into Crescent City than any other port in the state, according to preliminary numbers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Fishermen landed 3,093,287 pounds of Dungeness crab at the Crescent City Harbor in February at a value of $9,788,132, according to CDFW. Eureka came in second with a total of 1,963,564 million pounds of crab for February for a total value of $5,286,655, according to the department.

“We were the top producing port from Morro Bay north in California,” said Crescent City Harbor Commissioner Brian Stone on Thursday. “We outstripped our nearest competitor by a million pounds.”

According to Christy Juhasz, an environmental scientist out of CDFW’s Santa Rosa office who compiled data for February and March, the numbers for February were the most complete. Generally, 80 percent of the landings occur during the first eight weeks of the commercial Dungeness season, Juhasz said.

During February, 591 pounds of crab was landed at Trinidad and 136,232 pounds were landed at Fort Bragg. In Central California, 37,605 pounds of crab was brought into Bodega Bay during February; 4,572 pounds were brought into San Francisco; 11,751 pounds of crab were brought into Princeton/Half Moon Bay; 13,962 pounds was brought into Monterey and 17,984 pounds of crab was brought into Morro Bay.

Deputy Harbormaster Lane Tavasci said Friday the report he received from the California Department Fish and Wildlife includes data through March 21.

According to Tavasci, Crescent City Harbor receives 2 cents for every pound of crab landed at its docks.

According to the CDFW’s preliminary numbers for March, 81,391 pounds of crab, valued at $294,087, came through the Crescent City Harbor. Fishermen in Eureka landed more crab so far during the month of March at 122,941 pounds with a value of $418,112.

Stone noted even though the numbers are preliminary, they give a good indication of “how important this port is to the people of the town.”

After spending months looking for ways to pay down a $5.3 million loan from the USDA and increase revenue, the Crescent City Harbor District backed a citizens initiative that would increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) from 8 percent to 10 percent on hotels and motels in the county and implement a 2 percent TOT on RV spaces within the county.

“That one month of income goes into the city and county around here,” Stone said. “Also maintenance fees on boats, upkeep, insurance, everything else; all of the fees and licenses they have to pay for mooring the boat, all of that comes into the community. If we lose the harbor we lose that kind of revenue.”

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .

20063520