Crabs at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Photo by Sherif Salama/Flickr.
Crabs at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Photo by Sherif Salama/Flickr.

As the holidays approach, more crab, less crabbiness on the way…

Larry Collins, president of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association, has told us that fishermen have reached an agreement with wholesalers to settle a weeklong quarrel over price. Collins says crab fishermen will receive $3 per pound. More than a hundred boats have remained idled in San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, and Bodega Bay due to the dispute.

Boats will be heading out tomorrow morning and we could see crab back in stores as early as Thursday morning, Collins said.

“We started crab fishing this year for $3 per pound, then about a week after Thanksgiving, the market started getting plugged up with crab,” Collins said. He said buyers then wanted to lower the price to $2.50. “Our expenses aren’t any less than they were when we started. We didn’t want to go fishing for any less than $3 a pound.”

More background on crab economics in Carl Nolte’s Dec 6 story in the Chronicle, which also includes this truism:

“Disputes about the price of Dungeness crab are often a feature of the holiday season.”

Yes. Here’s last year’s Chronicle story, in fact.

Also from Nolte’s story last week, a little about the crab life…

[Rich] Fitzpatrick, who has been a commercial fisherman all his life, said he sets sail at 3 o’clock in the morning on his 4o-foot boat, checks the crab pots out in the ocean, and if he’s lucky makes it back to San Francisco just after sunset.

“It’s a long day, but fishing is all I know how to do,” he said.

Why doesn’t he quit and get an easier shoreside job? “Well,” Fitzpatrick said, “I love it. We all do.”

Dispute Over, Crab in Stores by Thursday, Maybe 11 December,2012Jon Brooks

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