San Francisco Dungeness crab season begins after delay

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Sunday marks the official start to commercial Dungeness crab season in the Bay Area after a month delay.

State Fish and Game delayed the season from November 15 to December 15 to protect whales migrating south.

RELATED: Commercial crab season in Bay Area delayed by whales

Max Boland works for Alber Seafood and processed the first loads of crab. "We're hoping we have a really good season. We're sad we had a little delay in starting but... it is what it is," Boland said.

He says the delay hurt everyone. "Well it's a big deal. Financially, for boat owners, for their livelihood... for the processors it's for everyone. It's a burden to everyone laterally across the board. To have less money to spend for Thanksgiving or Christmas you know," Boland said.

James Smith is a fisherman from the East Bay and says missing out on the Thanksgiving market was rough. "You know we put our blood, sweat, tears out here and the money just goes out. The crews, families... we all depend on going to work and unfortunately we were shut down," Smith said.

RELATED: Dungeness crab season delayed for area south of Mendocino, Sonoma County

When the season begins, fishermen work around the clock. "We're lucky to get two to three hours of sleep a day during the opener," Gregg Tanji said. Tanji was on one of the first boats to arrive with this season's crabs.

James Smith and his crew on the "Mad Dog" started their day on the water at 2 a.m. "The crabs won't stay there forever. The guys out there working pulling gear, they're going to catch crabs, and if you're not out there on the water you're not going to get your fair share," Smith said.

Several fishermen said weather has been awful for the last couple of days. "We make it a point to get onto the water, even through storms. The last couple of days have been just horrendous weather but we're out here fishing, trying to make a living. This year I hope we get some good money and I get to send my crew with good paychecks," Smith said.

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