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North Bay crab fishermen get to work as price dispute ends

The North Bay fishing fleet headed out Monday morning to set their crab pots after reaching a settlement with processors on price.

With fishing now finally under way, fresh crab may be available in Sonoma County markets as early as Tuesday afternoon, according to Tony Delima of The Tides Wharf in Bodega Bay.

The agreement ended a two-week stalemate that caused fishermen and processors to miss one lucrative holiday, Thanksgiving, but is expected to bring plenty of crab for the second holiday, Christmas.

2011: Crab Fishing In Bodega Bay

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Grocers on Monday had not yet set the retail price for crab, which is often sold at a discount to draw in shoppers. G&G Supermarket will sell it for $2.99 a pound for only the first day it is available, although the store will probably not make money at that price, G&G chief executive officer Teejay Lowe said.

Bodega Bay fishermen on Monday remained unhappy with the price they will be getting.

Fishermen had asked for $2.50 a pound, but processors had offered $2. On Monday morning, they agreed on $2.25 a pound.

The deal was struck after several large fishing boats from Oregon broke rank and left San Francisco to go fishing, despite an agreement by fishermen in Bodega Bay, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay to hold out for $2.50 a pound.

"The bigger boats from Oregon decided to go, so the others had to go," said Chuck Cappotto of Gualala, president of the Fishermen's Marketing Association of Bodega Bay. "It was disheartening."

Last year the season opened with fishermen receiving $1.75 a pound and had risen to $4 by the time the season closed.

State regulators opened the season for Dungeness crab on Nov. 15 for the central California district, which is Sonoma County and south.


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