San Francisco fishermen struggle to stay afloat amid delayed crab season

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- ABC7 is excited to continue our partnership with the brand new San Francisco Standard. Part of Building A Better Bay Area is highlighting anyone who's working toward the same mission we have here at ABC7. The SF Standard's deep and insightful reporting on the city does just that.

Strolling through Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, you cannot miss the giant sign with a red crab welcoming tourists. And, the smell of freshly steamed crabs.

It's hard to think of a more iconic industry that's so San Francisco than San Francisco's crabbing industry.

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

But a series of problems is causing some longtime fishermen to consider leaving their jobs. From the Pier 45 warehouse fire of 2020 to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to the changing climate, one of the city's biggest industry is struggling to survive.

Tuesday on ABC7's Getting Answers, SF Standard reporter Kevin Truong joined Kristen Sze to talk about what's delaying San Francisco's crab season and the future of the business.

Typically, crab season begins in November but this season, it began in December. Truong says it all started with the changing climate that's affecting wildlife, leading to a lawsuit.

"The crabbing industry entangled a record number of whales now that led to a lawsuit from the Centers of Biological Diversity, global environmental groups," Truong said, adding that 29 states eventually settling back on a delayed date to protect the whales of which migratory patterns have shifted with the presence of substances and chemicals in the ocean.

RELATED: Dungeness crab season delayed in Bay Area to protect whales

The delayed season means more financial trouble and less motivation for the fishermen to go out to sea with an uncertainty of catching any crab.

"It's really difficult to get people to work on your boat if you don't know when you're actually going out," Truong said. The delayed season also poses risks for the fishermen as dangerous weather conditions could potentially do more harm than making a few bucks.

Watch the full interview above.

See the San Francisco Standard's other original reporting here.

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