Stormy weather could further delay start of Bay Area crab season

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Saturday, December 31, 2022
Stormy weather could further delay start of Bay Area crab season
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This week's stormy weather could further delay the Bay Area crab season start.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The weather could impact this weekend's start of the crab season in the Bay Area. And that may mean residents won't get to feast on a local favorite on New Year's Eve.

The season has already been delayed for over a month, in order to keep humpback whales that are migrating south from getting tangled in the gear.

The Bay Area commercial crab season officially opens on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Many crabbers set out their pots when they were allowed to on Wednesday during a break from the storms.

MORE: CA's commercial Dungeness crab season opens Dec. 31 but with restrictions to protect whales

But more storms this weekend could make it tough for them to harvest the crab.

"I think most of all, we're all just a little nervous about whether we're going to be able to get out there. And no one wants to miss it if we can, but you also don't want to take unnecessary risks," said crab fisherman Nick Krieger.

He usually keeps his commercial fishing boat, the Arianna Rose, at Fisherman's Wharf Pier 47.

"The weather looks horrible," Krieger said. "Not only is it raining, but it's windy, and the swell and the waves are up as well. So I told my crew to meet at the boat at 10 at night, and we'll just see what it looks like. But I think it's unlikely that many of us will get out. We did set a little bit of gear closer, that there's a chance we can get to."

MORE: Fishers facing financial burden due to crab season delay

There will likely be a limited supply because state officials ordered a 50% reduction in crab traps.

"I'm getting a lot of calls, but we're telling them, you know, it's just delayed, and wait for the New Year, basically next week," said Roy Cecchini, owner of Rocky's Quality Meats in San Rafael. Between the rough weather, they're going to have a hard time pulling them and then the few that will probably be pulled, will probably sell them live off the boat because they're able to do that these days."

He said they have been selling crab meat from the Pacific Northwest but, of course, many people want that Bay Area Dungeness crab.

MORE: 'New normal': SF fishermen say Bay Area crab season may never again start before Thanksgiving

Krieger said he hopes to sell some crab off the dock Saturday morning so he can pay some bills.

If you're lucky enough to get crab, he said it'll be really good. Krieger said they're not expecting a large quantity of crab -- which leads to a high quality -- because there's a lot of food out there for the crab so the meat will be full.

"It's likely that it'll be expensive in the start of the season, but it'll be probably some of the best crab people have ever had," Krieger said.

John Barnett, president of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owner's Association said in a statement: "The weather is going to play a big part in when and how much crab is going to come to the dock. We just want everybody to be safe and come back home."

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