The continued disagreement between crab fishermen and buyers over price is keeping boats tied up to the docks.
The crab season from Sonoma County south opened on Tuesday, but fishermen from Bodega Bay, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay are refusing to go out until a price is agreed upon, said Chuck Cappatto of Gualala, president of the Fishermen's Marketing Association of Bodega Bay.
Fishermen are asking for $2.50 a pound and buyers are offering $2, said Cappatto. Last year, the season opened with a price of $1.75 a pound and closed with the price at $4.
"The buyers have not budged," said Bodega Bay fisherman Chris Lawson.
The crab in the ocean are good quality, said state Fish and Game biologists.
In a test on Tuesday, crab caught out of Bodega Bay had 24 percent of meat for its weight. And out of San Francisco it was 25 percent, said Pete Kalvass, a state Fish and Game senior marine biologist in Fort Bragg.
"That is pretty good, the target is 25, anything close to that is good quality," Kalvass said.
Commercial fishermen are limited to taking crab that are at least 5.5 inches in diameter. Crab will grow into their shell, adding muscle that is the meat, which will get to 26 or 27 percent of body weight, Kalvass said.
He expects that crab will be abundant this year, following a record-breaking year in which 19 million pounds were landed in the central California coast district, which includes Sonoma County.
"It will probably be a good season, just because there are still a lot of crab out there," Kalvass said. "Crabs that were not quite legal size last year will have grown into legal size."
The season north of Sonoma County has been delayed by state Fish and Game until Dec. 15 because of the poor size of the crab.