Seafood lovers in Humboldt and Del Norte will finally have access to local Dungeness crab starting next weekend, after negotiations between the California crab fleets and processors were settled on Friday.
Harrison Ibach, president of the Humboldt Fishermen’s Market Association, told the Outpost On Saturday, processors and fishermen settled on a price of $ 2.75 a pound for Dungeness crab. Fishermen initially asked for $ 3.25 a pound, but processors say the market has been severely affected by restaurant closings due to COVID-19. Although the price was lower than he hoped, Ibach said he was just happy the process was over and the season could finally begin.
“We are looking forward to a safe and orderly start to the season,” Ibach said, adding that the fishing associations had an “informal agreement” to start fishing for crab at around the same time. This discourages fishermen from harvesting more than their fair share of crab, while discouraging them from leaving in dangerous weather conditions to start early, he said.
Fishermen in the Bay Area will start setting up pots on Monday and our local fisherman is expected to start mid-week, Ibach said, making the crabs available to consumers by the weekend or early in the week. next.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife opened the commercial Dungeness Crab season on December 23, much later than its usual start. The season was delayed in central California to prevent whales from becoming entangled in crab fishing gear, and was delayed in the Northern Management Zone – which includes Humboldt and Del Norte counties – due to low weight in meat quality tests.
Based on poor quality meat tests in November, Ibach said he doesn’t expect a large volume of crabs this year. Combined with the late season and low price, this could be bad news for fishermen, many of whom depend on the crab season’s income. But Ibach said he was trying to stay positive.
“I think everyone is eager to start and we are hopeful that maybe we will have a decent season,” he said.