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From Bodega Bay north, crab fishermen strike for higher per-pound price

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Crabbers from Bodega Bay north through Oregon and Washington to the Canadian border went on strike Wednesday afternoon after wholesale Dungeness crab buyers sought to lower the per-pound price fishermen earn for the much sought-after crustacean.

Fishermen have agreed to either cease crabbing in areas off the Sonoma Coast where the Dungeness crab season has already opened, or delay the start of their season in hopes of retaining the $3-per-pound price they have earned fishing in Northern California’s rich waters so far this year, according to Lorne Edwards, president of the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Marketing Association, an industry trade group.

Fishermen from Bodega Bay north agreed to the strike Wednesday at 2 p.m. Wholesale buyers are offering $2.75 per pound, Edwards said.

“There’s going to be no crabbing from any port from Bodega Bay to the Washington-Canada border,” Edwards said. “It’s huge … I’m not expecting a change until after New Year’s.”

The strike was possible because staggered season openings along the California coast mean that the price of crab has not been set in all fisheries. The varied season openings come as a result of high levels of Domoic acid detected in crabs in some areas. The work stoppage could affect prices and availability of Dungeness crab during the final stretch of peak annual demand, which stretches through the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, Edwards said.

You can reach Staff Writer Angela Hart at 526-8503 or angela.hart@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ahartreports.

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