Local Dungeness crab tested for quality to determine price

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With their livelihoods on the line, crab fishermen are eagerly awaiting the results of a quality test that will determine the price set for crab.

The test will determine how meaty the crab are and that will determine the price per pound.

RELATED: Fishermen ready for opening of Bay Area commercial crab season

Some fishermen told ABC7 News the crab looks good and they're pretty optimistic.

They are expected to take part in a closed-door meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday where they will hear what kinds of prices the buyers are offering. They will have a couple of options where they can either accept the price or counter.

RELATED: Fishermen, buyers concerned about quality of spring crab

Call it a coincidence or just plain luck, but Bountiful was the name of the boat chosen to fish 850 pounds of crab for the quality test.

Crab fishermen could use a bounty after a four month late start to the season. "This year is different for everybody. This crab season financially sunk a bunch of fisherman," Victor Lescinskas said.

RELATED: Crab fishermen prepare for long overdue season to start

A dangerous neurotoxin in the crab was to blame. Even after samples were below alert levels, public health agencies recommended people not eat the internal organs of the crab known as butter or guts.

The new concern is whether or not the price per pound this late in the season will be right. "We ate some crab and it looked good, looked full," one fisherman said.

A quality test being conducted in Fort Bragg where they're cooking and picking the meat will formally determine the price. "Want to make sure the crab aren't soft, make sure they're full of meat," Jerry Ball said.

Crab fishermen like Ball said they're hoping for at least $3.50 per pound. "They'd like $4, but I think guys are rearing to go right now," Ball said.

Most fishermen hope to be out on the water before the end of the week. "It's a gentlemen's agreement. Everybody is tied up and hopefully everybody will go together," Ball said.

Ball said for the first run, a lot of guys will likely be up 36 hour straight hoping to bring back a bounty to make up for lost time.

They're optimistic a spike seen last June means it's not too late.

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