Bay Area crab season delayed again, impacting local fisherman ahead of holidays

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Bay Area crab fishers feel burden of delayed season
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Crab season is delayed again this year in the Bay Area, and fisherman are already feeling the financial impact.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Crab season will be delayed once again. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says commercial crab fishers wont be able to go out to the northern sections till December 1, and the sections outside San Francisco till December 15.

"I am not surprised it's delayed each year," says crab fisher Matthew Juanes.

The CDFW says whales are still present off the coast.

Commercial crab fishers use special tools that could hurt the marine life, so they must wait till the whales have migrated away.

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However, having the season keep getting delayed is a financial burden on the fishers. Juanes works as a salmon fisher during the summer, and a crab fisher during the winter. His income is directly dependent on his ability to catch and sell fish. If he cant be allowed to go and catch any, he can't sell it.

"I don't really have a paycheck from October all the way until crab is open on November 15th traditionally," he said. "It'd be great I start making money again, but they keep pushing us back."

It's tough for him, especially in the early weeks. He says he relies on the early rush of crab season to pay for Christmas gifts for his family. The later crab season starts, the less money he has to work with.

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"Christmas, we always want to get the best for our kids and family, but sometimes it's 'well I will make up for it at birthdays.'"

He doesn't like going out on the water in January and February because the weather can make it difficult and sometimes dangerous to catch crab. He hopes he and other fishers can work something out with the CDFW to prevent the season from delaying.

"I wish that we can come up with something with Fish and Wildlife that we can work together," he said. "Maybe as the whales migrate out we can come in. We should get some sort of positive bonus if do all the precautions to prevent us from hurting marine life."