Crab Fishermen Weather A Rough Season In Bay Area

Matt Bigler
January 16, 2019 - 1:25 pm

The big storm that roared into the Bay Area on Wednesday dealt another blow to crab fishermen in the Bay Area.

Many boats stayed tied up in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf even as the season opens up farther north. 

"It was good and all of a sudden it dropped off," said Matt Juanes, about his first year as a fisherman. 

He's got a 25-foot craft called the Red Triangle, and said that catching crabs has been like whacking a pinata. 

"Whoever can get the most, fastest, wins," said Juanes. "After that, it's picking up little pieces between other people's legs." 

Storms have kept many boats at bay while farther north, the waters from Patrick Point to the Oregon Border remain off limits because of high levels of domoic acid. 

All of this has had a big impact on the local seafood economy. Last year crab fishing was valued at over $67 million. 

In a strange twist of fates, Juanes says all of the bad press about crab season may have actually helped smaller fishermen like himself.

"I've made a little bit of money," said Juanes. "I've still got a little bit of money for fuel...so I can make it home."

The quality of the crab is quite good this year, according to fishermen, although the catches are small. That's driven prices up to about $13.99 per pound, about twice as high as recent years.