After 2 week delay, crab fishing gets under way

San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf
November 28, 2011 6:49:26 PM PST
Fishermen and buyers came to an agreement on the price and the boats finally went out Monday morning. One observer said it was like a Wild West land rush. One after another, the crab boats quickly headed out to the ocean.

There are 150 crab boats out in the water from Bodega Bay to Half Moon Bay, to San Francisco Bay. A bitter battle over price had kept them idling in the bay. The fishermen wanted $2.50 per pound for their catch. The large buyers wanted to pay $2. In the end, they reached a compromise at $2.25.

Fisherman Tim Calvert does not really think $2.25 is OK. "But, we're losing our time, so if we don't get going here, we're going to have bad weather and we won't get any time in at all," he told ABC7.

ABC7 was told the decision to go Monday morning came after out-of state fishermen decided to break ranks and accept the deal forcing the locals to go along. $2.25 per pound is 50 cents more than last year's price, but crabbers say it does not keep pace with the increasing cost of diesel fuel, gear and bait.

"We didn't get quite what we wanted," said Larry Collins, president of the San Francisco crab boat owners. "Our expenses have gone up and the price of crab hasn't, but we did get another quarter a pound so it was enough. We've been tied up too long. Everybody needed to go to work."

Buyers are also relieved the dispute is over

"I think, at this point, almost whatever it took to get them moving, because the only people they were hurting besides themselves, and they didn't realize, was the consumer," said Angel Cincotta at Alioto-Lazio.

At Scoma's restaurant, they are ready to try out some new crab dishes as well as the traditional favorite.

"Cracked cold crab, a nice Anchor Steam beer or a glass of chardonnay, some fresh sourdough bread," Kelly Bennett at Scoma's offered. "Start with that.

You can expect fresh crab perhaps by Tuesday.

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