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North Bay fishing delay means no local crab for Thanksgiving

North Coast fishermen and buyers have not reached an agreement on price and that means fresh local crab will be one delicacy missing from the Thanksgiving dinner table.

The fishing fleet in Bodega Bay, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay is remaining in port until an agreement is reached, said Chuck Cappotto, president of the Fishermen's Marketing Association of Bodega Bay.

Fishermen are asking for $2.50 per pound and buyers are offering $2. Last year the season opened at $1.75 a pound and reached $4 a pound by the end of the season.

2011: Crab Fishing In Bodega Bay

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It will take three days after a price is reached before crab could be available.

"If we agreed on price today, the boats would set pots on Wednesday and pull on Thursday ... there is no way there will be crab before Thanksgiving," said Michael Lucas, president of North Coast Fisheries Inc. in Santa Rosa.

The fishing season is expected to be a good one, once fishermen head to sea. Crab will not be as abundant as last year's record-setting totals, but still is expected to be plentiful. Tests have also indicated the crab are of good quality, with 24 to 25 percent of meat per body weight.

"The crabs are nice crabs, nice size too," Lucas said. "It is not a quality issue, it is a price issue."

Lucas said the fishermen's asking price of $2.50 is 43 percent more than the opening day price of $1.75 last year.

Cappotto said, however, that $2 is the same price fishermen received in 2000 and their costs have gone up since then.

The season opened last Tuesday for Dungeness crab for Sonoma County and south. The season from Mendocino County north has been delayed by state Fish and Game until at least Dec. 15 to give crab more time to grow.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com


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