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Commercial crab season on central California coast opens this week

  • Fishermen and their crews are getting their boats ready for crab season to start at Spud Point Marina in Bodega Bay, Saturday, November 10, 2012. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

The commercial season for Dungeness crab opens Thursday, with the prospects of crabs that are loaded with meat, but fishermen are expecting fewer of them than in the past two years, when records were set.

"It doesn't look like as good as the past two years," said Chuck Cappotto, president of the Fisherman's Marketing Association of Bodega Bay. "It is difficult to tell, but from sport fishing reports, the abundance is not anywhere as good as the last two years."

Last year, a record 31.6 million pounds of crab were caught in California, valued at $94.8 million, the biggest catch in 100 years.

2011: Crab Fishing Begins

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In 2010, 27.5 million pounds were caught, valued at $56.8 million.

The sport fishing season opened Nov. 3, with reports of catches good north of the Gualala River but sparse to the south.

At Bodega Bay, the decks of many of the commercial fleet are piled high with crab pots.

"We're all ready to go, we finished the gear this morning and now we're doing miscellaneous small jobs," Chuck Wise of Bodega Bay said last week.

Fishermen are able to set pots beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday but cannot pull them up until Thursday when the season opens from the Gualala River to Morro Bay.

The opening could be delayed if fishermen and buyers are unable to reach an agreement on price, Bodega Bay fisherman Chris Lawson said.

Fishermen are asking for $3 a pound and are trying to have a uniform price for the ports of Bodega Bay, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.


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