Tag Archives: Dungeness crab season

It’s been a good season for Oregon’s Dungeness crab fleet with strong prices and four more months to go

Oregon’s 2024-24 commercial Dungeness crab season is proving quite successful five months into the season. Fishermen have hauled in 23.8 million pounds of crab so far, accounting for a catch valued at $88.9 million during a season that typically runs from December to August. Crabbers were paid $85 million in 2022-23 and $91.5 million in 2021-22, which was a record. Newport is the center of Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery, which is the most valuable of all the coastal fisheries. Since the season’s Dec. 16 start, fishermen found crab and netted a good price for their efforts while shoppers caught a break at the market. The average price per pound paid to fishermen in December was $3.41, which translated to about $8 a pound to consumers. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:48

‘It’s really scary’: The existential crisis of a Bay Area crabber

On a cloudy January evening, just as the sun lowered in the sky creating a sliver of orange along the horizon, John Mellor pulled his boat into the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf. Mellor’s 40-foot boat has been out at sea for more than 30 hours. There is a sense of excitement and anticipation as two crew members lift a cover, unveiling thousands of crabs in a container. Bucket by bucket, clawing crustaceans are weighed on a giant scale. The haul is a good one, and the success of each outing has become more crucial since the Dungeness crab season is half as long as it used to be. He waited through several anxious months of delays for the season to start. Mellor, 60, grew up in Oakland and began fishing as a teen. He is one of a few hundred commercial Dungeness crabbers in the state who have reluctantly adapted to shorter crabbing seasons. Photos, more, >>click to read<< 16:44

First crab hauls come ashore, but Northern California fishermen frustrated by $3 price point

Dungeness crab season finally started this week following regulatory delays and a fisherman’s strike. While the strike aimed to get a better price from the fish processing companies that buy a large portion of the crabs, local fishermen are still frustrated with the starting price of $3 per pound across California. Harrison Ibach, president of Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association, said so far the weather has been less than favorable and the price leaves a lot to be desired. “No one is happy with the fact that the processors are still paying more in Oregon than they are in California,” he said. The price is better than last year’s historic low of $2.25 that coupled with a large number of crabs. But this is up to a dollar lower than what processors are paying Oregon crabbers, said Ibach, the reasoning for which isn’t entirely clear. more, >>click to read<< 16:21

Dungeness crab season gets underway amid hope for relief in commercial fishing fleet

On Sunday, veteran fisherman Chris Lawson learned he had lost his eldest granddaughter in a terrible crash on the Bay Bridge. The next day, he was out on his commercial fishing vessel, Seaward, setting traps on the ocean floor in preparation for the delayed start of the Dungeness crab season Thursday at 12:01 a.m. Moving on is part of the grieving process, said Lawson, a third-generation commercial fisherman. But this year, it also was a necessity. Scarce fishing opportunities over the past year have pushed many in the commercial fishing industry to the brink, so the chance to finally harvest crab, even in the middle of the night, was not to be missed. Lawson’s girlfriend’s son, whom he calls his “stepson,” launched as well, setting pots from a second boat. Video, photos, more, >>click to read<< 08:18

California Dungeness crab season on hold again, fishermen losing out big

“Absolutely criminal”.
Crabber Matthew Paul,

Dungeness crab season is on hold again.  There are a lot fewer fishing boats at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay these days. A high number of migrating humpback whales and a recently confirmed leatherback sea turtle, the largest turtle in the world, being caught in Dungeness crab fishing gear, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has caused the state to prevent crab traps from being used once again. “Absolutely criminal ’cause they’re not solving the problem by keeping us tied to the dock,” Matthew Paul, who has been crabbing along the California coast for four decades.”That’s about six bucks to the public,” Rick Hauschel explained the price of a crab held in his hands, after lifting one out of a tank on his boat, the Polaris.  Video, photos, >>click to read<< 06:59

Dungeness crab season delayed again this year, another blow to Santa Cruz fishing industry

Commercial Dungeness crab season had been set to open Nov. 15, but amid concerns about whale safety that have delayed the season in recent years, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has pushed it back to at least Dec. 1. “For many fishermen, this means there’s no income right now,” one veteran says, “and they’re hanging by the threads.” “It’s really bad,” said Tim Obert of the conditions for local commercial fishermen. “This is the worst year I’ve seen before. We have always had the salmon to back up the crab.”  “For many fishermen, this means there’s no income right now and they’re hanging by the threads,” he said. “However, we’re kind of used to it now.” >>click to read << 12:46

Bay Area restaurants, crabbers prepare as whales force Dungeness crab season to close early

In an effort to protect humpback whales, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife announced commercial crab season in the region will come to a close on Saturday. “Being on the Wharf and in this restaurant all my life, we take a lot of pride in being able to go down to the boats, bring it back, serving the freshest fish possible,” said Paul Capurro, owner of Capurro’s Restaurant. “I think crab is one of the big things that makes Fisherman’s Wharf, Fisherman’s Wharf.” Local crabbers will see less revenue without spring fishing, said Holly Fruehling. “I for one was very excited to be spring fishing this year,” Fruehling said. Video, >click to read< 08:02

Early close to Dungeness crab season just one more strike against commercial fleet

This year’s early close also comes as state, federal and nongovernmental conservation agencies are putting increased funding and support behind whale-safe “ropeless” or “pop-up” gear in development over recent years to allow for crabbers to extend their efforts during the shoulder seasons, even when the giant marine mammals are present. “The ropeless gear is a non-starter, as far as we’re concerned,” said Crescent City crabber Ben Platt, president of the California Coast Crab Association, which represents about 140 commercial Dungeness crab permit holders in California, including about two dozen in Bodega Bay. Members of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and conservation groups are bullish about the new traps, however, with several manufacturers working on or ready to test equipment. >click to read< 07:54

Willapa Bay crabbers deliver record haul

More than 1.5 million pounds of Dungeness crab have been caught by commercial fishermen in the bay this year, far exceeding previous annual landings records over the past 25 years. Despite a two-month delay in the 2022-2023 season that eventually began Feb. 1, the current commercial Dungeness landings are about 1.54 million pounds as of Monday, March 27, a roughly 23% increase over the previous record of 1.19 million pounds caught during the entire 2010-2011 season. Pinched by inflated fuel and expenses and a low price from processors, commercial crab fishermen would rather put this current season behind them as they prepare for the next fishery. “It’s been above average,” said commercial fishermen Ross Kary. “But with the crab price it’s still not the best year I’ve had. With the price of everything, expenses are really high. We were lucky to not go bankrupt.” Photos, >click to read< 20:20

Fishermen at Pillar Point hold fast for better days

Captain Mike Burian, who fishes under the vessel, Prime Time out of Pillar Point Harbor, bought a boat last year when it sounded like a good deal; however, his dream of running a profitable crabbing and salmon boat quickly turned into a nightmare after multiple delays in the season and various obstacles made it increasingly difficult to turn a profit. “I always wanted to do this and someone was selling the vessel, pods and permits and I thought it was a good idea at the time,” Burian said. “If I did well, I was going to do it full time and fish for salmon as well; but, at this time, there is no way to make a living with this as far as I can see.” >click to read< 08:47

Crab fishermen weather a bruising season

It was a dream season for Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery last year. Fishing began on the traditional Dec. 1 opener for the first time in years. Domoic acid, a marine toxin that has hampered the valuable commercial fishery time and again in recent years, was almost nowhere to be seen in Oregon or Washington state waters. “Last season, everything that could go right went right,” said Tim Novotny, executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. “And this year — I don’t know if it’s been completely the opposite, but it’s been close.” >click to read< 07:22

Commercial Dungeness crab season opens January 15

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday that the commercial Dungeness crab fishery season opens from Cape Falcon to Cape Arago January 15. The season opens February 1 from Cape Falcon north to Washington State; in accordance with the Tri-State Protocol. ODFW says that the crabs are ready for harvest after passing all administered tests. Crab meat fill now meets criteria in all areas of Oregon, and biotoxins are below alert levels in all crab tested from Cape Arago north. However, domoic acid testing of crab will continue from Cape Arago south to the California border as test results Thursday showed elevated levels of domoic acid in the area. >click to read< For more information about crabbing season you can visit ODFW’s website.  09:21

Fishermen ready for start of crab season amid price, start date uncertainty

“I’ve been crab fishing since I graduated from high school in 2007,” said Robert Mirante. “This is my fifth season running a boat as an owner-operator.” Robert comes from a family of fishermen; his father fished for decades, and he and all his brothers run their own boats. “That’s what we do for a living,” Robert said. Uncertainty about the start date of this year’s season, pushed back later by low crab numbers just this past Thursday, affects the entire community, said Perry Graham, captain of the Amberlynn. “It’s always stressful — it is — not knowing. It’d be nice to have your set days to know when to work,” Graham said. “You’re rushing, rushing, rushing to get ready and then you might sit there for a month or two.” Photos, >click to read< 19:00

‘It’s not ‘us versus the whales’’: Delayed crab season weighs heavily on Central Coast fishermen

It was six days before Christmas and the December sun shone brightly off the placid waters of the Santa Cruz Harbor, illuminating towers of empty crab pots stacked on the edge of the docks. Inside a nearby meeting room, more than a dozen fishermen from Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey grabbed donuts and gray plastic chairs to discuss their most urgent concern: how to deal with the economic impact of a Dungeness crab season that, now more than a month behind schedule, had yet to open. >click to read< 06:47

California’s Dungeness crab season delayed yet again, this time until Dec. 30

California Fish and Wildlife officials on Wednesday evening announced another postponement in the commercial Dungeness crab season for the entire state coast — the third delay this season. There are two geographically based reasons behind the decision: From the Sonoma/Mendocino County line south to the Mexican border, a risk assessment undertaken Wednesday determined there is still a high concentration of migrating whales that could get tangled in fishing gear. It’s the fourth consecutive year of delays to protect the humpbacks. On the far north coast, whales have moved south from Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties, but state officials said testing of crabs caught in these waters showed low meat quality, hence the continued ban there. >click to read< 08:56

Here’s why the West Coast Dungeness crab season has been delayed

Oregon’s most valuable commercial fishery, Dungeness crab, will have its season delayed from its traditional Dec. 1 start date because of low meat yields. Testing shows the crabs in some ocean areas off the West Coast don’t have enough meat in them to satisfy the commercial market. In some areas, testing also showed elevated levels of the naturally occurring toxin domoic acid, which can make the crabs unsafe to eat. ODFW conducts tests out of six major crabbing ports in partnership with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Oregon, California and Washington coordinate on commercial season opening dates, and the other states will also be delaying their crab season until at least Dec. 16. >click to read< 12:10

‘A healthy ocean means a healthy fleet’: salmon, crab, kelp, and climate the focus of annual fisheries forum

Dispatches on the state of California’s fisheries this year have brought “a mix of some glimmers of better news, while still struggling with difficult issues,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Chuck Bonham summarized at the 49th Annual Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum on Wednesday afternoon. The forum was moderated by State Senator Mike McGuire as part of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. In addition to a detailed report from Bonham, the afternoon featured panels on drought and salmon, the dungeness crab season, the state of California’s kelp forests, and aquaculture — as well as a brief public comment period. >click to read< 19:16

“It was a mad scramble!” Dungeness crab season in Oregon reaches record-breaking value

The commercial Dungeness crab season opened up and down the Oregon coast on time last year. It’s the first time in years the season wasn’t delayed. And crabbers have been reaping the benefits. Kyle Retherford is the captain of the fishing vessel F/V Excalibur. “It was record-breaking for us,” he said. “Financially, it was the best year we’ve ever had in comparison to previous years. Last year was really poor.” Listen to the conversation, >click to read< 12:13

Oregon Dungeness crab season sets new record for value

The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission expects the 2021-2022 season to set a new record as the highest grossing season ever. The current record of $74.2 million was set in 2017-2018. This year, the Dungeness crab fleet has already landed $78.1 million, and the season is not yet over. The 20-year average is 17.3 million pounds. As of Tuesday, the fleet had brought 15.3 million pounds ashore, below average, but above last season’s 12.2 million pounds. Video, >click to read< 15:04

How to make the most of Dungeness crab season on the Sonoma Coast

Shawn Patterson, who fishes wild Pacific king salmon during its local season, has established Lisa Lu Fishery LLC and formed a partnership with Adam King. They recently acquired the crab boat F/V Susan E from a Bodega Bay fisherman. Lisa Lu Fishery is selling live crab for $10 a pound directly to consumers and $8 a pound to restaurants. Prices are higher than they often are, but that’s the case with almost everything during the pandemic. He expects to stay in the water until the state closes the season, after the bigger boats have pulled their pots and concluded their season. “We expect to have plenty for direct-to-consumer sales and farmers market sales,” >click to read< with some nice recipes! 09:47

Half Moon Bay fishermen optimistic about Dungeness crab season opening

“I’m a little optimistic. Everyone thinks there is a little more this year than last year, and the weather the next handful of days look really nice,” crab fisherman Scott Edson said. Edson, who will be fishing out of Point Reyes this year with a crew of two on his 36-foot boat, has spent the last few days getting ready for the upcoming crab season the next few months. He has less pressure this season after a great salmon season,,,“I think it’s gonna be better than last year, maybe a little better,” Edson said. Porter McHenry, who fishes out of Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay, agreed. >click to read< 08:50

Finally! Commercial Dungeness Crab Season opens in the Bay Area

“We’ve been delayed here because of the whales being present,” said John Barnett who owns the crabbing boat, The F/V Amigo, docked at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. California Fish and Wildlife pushed the Dungeness crab season back to December 29th to give whales in the area more time to leave the fishing grounds, and now they’re gone. “We’re ready to go fishing,” >video, >click to read< 07:40

Numerous safety escorts, vessel tows during first week of Dungeness crab season

Coast Guard crews across the Pacific Northwest have towed 10 disabled or distressed commercial fishing vessels back to port in the first week of the Dungeness crab season which began Dec. 1. These tow operations, along with numerous safety escorts, have ensured the safe passage of several fishing crews and more than 100,000 pounds of crab, (Thank You CG!) through hazardous bar conditions. Coast Guard crews stationed in Grays Harbor, Cape Disappointment, Coos Bay, and Chetco River, have contributed to the total of 10 tows. Other vessels have also been escorted across the bar. These safety escorts are conducted when dictated by hazardous conditions. The start of the Dungeness crab season has coincided with several bar restrictions as a result of rough conditions encountered at the bar. photos, video,>click to read< 14:10

California: Dungeness crab season opens on time, but it’s off to slow start

Dan Schmidt has been fishing off Ten Mile Beach for the past six or seven years. The F/V Condor harvested a fraction of what it normally gets for the first pull of the season on the first day of Dungeness crab season Wednesday. With fuel and bait costs, it wasn’t very lucrative, and Schmidt said he’s shifting to black cod and lingcod, which are more cost-effective, unless the season picks up later. “I’ve talked to a lot of other guys that have fished from up here to Shelter Cove and it’s kind of the same scenario,” Schmidt said. “Apparently Crescent City and Eureka have some good volumes of crab, but down here it’s not the same.” >click to read< 16:53

Oregon: Dungeness Crab season begins

Newport crabbers were treated to great weather, a rare on-time start and a high opening price as they kicked off what will likely be a historic Dungeness crab season this week. The season opened Dec. 1, the first on-time start in six years, with a starting price of $4.75 per pound at the Newport docks. Good weather also let many of the smaller fishing vessels set out at the same time as the large ones, allowing many to bring in their first hauls late Wednesday night and Thursday morning. >click to read< 07:44

U.S. Coast Guard urges safety, preparedness for upcoming Oregon Dungeness crab season

The Coast Guard urges commercial fishermen to ensure vessel safety to prevent maritime emergencies before the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season scheduled to begin Sunday with the Pre-Soak.,, The Coast Guard will notify the public of bar restrictions and bar closures via a Broadcast Notice to Mariners on VHF-FM channel 16 and 22A. Monitoring cameras and associated websites prior to setting out to sea may provide mariners with additional information in certain locations. The Coast Guard reminds all commercial fishermen that prior to crossing a restricted bar between sunset and sunrise, they must notify the Coast Guard on VHF-FM channel 16 or 22A,,, >click to read< 18:55

Oregon: Dungeness crab season starts Dec.1!

It’s the first time in seven years that the season has not been delayed by low meat yields, high levels of domoic acid, or both.,, But the scheduled opening has been delayed in recent years. In some years, parts of the coast have remained closed into late January. This year, commercial crab vessels can set gear Nov. 28, and begin pulling pots on Dec. 1. >click to read< 07:37

Dungeness crab season opens with extra restrictions as industry sees economic consequences

From Lopez Point in Southern Monterey County to Point Conception in Santa Barbara County, Dungeness crab catching is allowed right now using crab traps, hoop nets and snares, potentially bringing in a boost to the Central Coast economy during the holidays. But due to whale activity, take using crab traps is temporarily restricted in Fishing Zones two and three from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line to Lopez Point. Mike Conroy is the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association. He said historically, the opening of Dungeness crab season would mean big business for fisheries across California. >click to read< 10:02

Prohibition? Crab traps may be banned as Dungeness season approaches

Recreational Dungeness crab season opens Nov. 6 and, in response to new regulations by the Fish and Game Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife may prohibit crab traps in an effort to prevent marine life entanglement. Charlton Bonham will review data from the department’s Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program to assess the environmental impacts of crab traps for both recreational and commercial crab fishing. The first hearing will be held on Nov. 1, which could impact gear policies for the season opening five days later. >click to read< 10:18

Noyo Harbor: How’s the Dungeness crab season playing out this year? Word on the dock is grim

Dungeness crab season is off to a pitiful start this year. Some crabbers pulled their gear out and threw the towel in just one day into the season.,,, Gene Mathieuso, whose family has worked in the fishing industry since the early 20th century said that he has seen years as bad as this before.“1973 was probably the worst season we’ve ever had,” he said. “Landings were less than a million, at 880,000 pounds.” For reference, the average total California dungeness catch from 2010 to 2020 was around 14 million pounds. Mathieuso said he anticipates that this year will rival 1973. photos, >click to read< 12:25