Fresh crab could soon appear in restaurants, stores

Bay Area fishermen are gearing up for the start of the commercial crab season. They could start hauling them in as early as Friday.
November 14, 2013 5:51:55 PM PST
It's almost time for the first fresh crab of the season. Fishermen started putting out their pots Thursday and could start hauling in some crabs as early as Friday.

There's no fighting over the price this year. They've agreed on a price and they're already hard at work.

Restaurants tell us that customers have already been calling, looking for crab.

The pots are going out, which means yummy goodness will soon be coming in.

"They're allowed to start pulling their crabs at midnight," said Larry Collins with the SF Crab Boat Owners Association. "So if the weather cooperates, we should be unloading some crab off the boats tomorrow."

We are usually talking about an argument over the price of crab at this time of year and a potential strike. But this year, everyone has agreed on a price of $3 per pound.

"We went in there one day, we settled, and now we're good to go," Collins said. "We're going on time, it's nice to go on time, everybody will have their crab for Thanksgiving and that feels good."

Kelly Bennett, the chef at Scomas Restaurant across the way, is watching all of this very carefully. We asked his reaction to the fact that the boats are going out on time this year.

"Stunned," he said while laughing.

He thinks the new limits California put in place this year for crab fishermen helped get the price settled quicker than usual.

"I think a big part of that is the pot limit that did away with that," Bennett said. "It sort of dissuaded the big boats from coming down."

"Hopefully it will keep fresh crab coming in a little bit longer for the local people," Collins said.

The Scoma's chef plans to buy from the first boat that comes in. He'll get it to his customers as quickly as he can, but he also wants a plate for himself.

"For me, simple steamed crab served chilled, little bit of mayonnaise and an Anchor Steam and some sourdough bread," Bennett said.

I talked to a buyer who said you can probably expect to see it in your grocery store at about $5.50 to $6.50 a pound. And you'll probably see it in your store starting Monday.