Today’s Dungeness crab fisherman must be smart, rational to survive

Some may wonder if the 2017 Dungeness crab season is ill-fated: First delayed by weeks to make certain crab were free of domoic acid toxin, delayed again after processors proposed lowering the price paid to crabbers, and then it started with a capsizing that could have cost five lives except for quick intervention by the Ballad. Today’s crabbers and fishermen have to be smart and rational to survive — literally and economically. Crab around the mouth of the Columbia this season never exceeded safe levels of marine toxin, but the industry is united in striving to preserve the reputation of Dungeness crab as a pure, premium product. For this reason alone, it’s sensible to take every precaution. Delays in the season also often have strategic components involving jockeying over price, and competition over crabbing grounds. Sometimes crabbers wait to allow an early-season storm to pass. In this instance, the closure went longer than most anyone wanted. Read the op-ed here 10:41