HALF MOON BAY, Calif. - Crab season officially starts on Tuesday and a lot is on the line for Bay Area fisherman. A dangerous toxin meant last year's season was a disaster for many.
The pots at Santa Cruz Harbor are filled with hope but upon return, there better be more than that. "I hope they're stuffed with crab. Dungeness," The Johnny C's Jeremiah Salvage said.
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Several crews from several different fishing boats were up before the otters came out to play, kicking off the commercial crab season.
"We're being optimistic. We won't know it until we pull them. So, we'll just see what happens. The next couple of days will be real telling," fisherman David Toriumi said.
The sport fishermen got first crack at the crab and are reporting few in their pots in the Monterey Bay.
Commercial fishermen drop into deeper water where more crab may be, but really anything is better than last season.
"You know it's a good relief. I'm glad the crab are well. They're edible. It's just a little weight off my shoulder," Salvage said.
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Last season was delayed several months, until long after the holidays were over, after dangerous levels of domoic acid were found in the crab.
The fishing industry lost millions.
"Yeah, I'm still suffering the effects. Everybody is," Captain Khevin Mellegers said.
Mellegers is the captain of The Puffin. He has hundreds of pots going out this week.
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The key is catching the crab when they're in demand for the holiday season. "Yeah, they didn't have a lot of crab last year so I think they're pretty happy. Everyone wants it during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. So it's nice. They're going to get it this year," Mellegers said.
The purchase price hasn't been agreed upon yet, but several people told me they expect it to be $3 a pound to the wholesalers, which means you'll pay about $6 a pound at the store.