Crabby Season

So far this season, Monterey Bay fishermen have caught just 14,000 pounds of crab, compared to 350,000 in Half Moon Bay.

While an 11-day strike kept Dungeness crab fishermen tied up to the dock from Washington state down to Half Moon Bay during what could be a banner year, crabbers in Monterey Bay kept plugging away. It’s not that they’re strike busters (or “scabs”), it’s there are so few crabs in Monterey Bay their continued work doesn’t make that much of an impact.

“It’s been really slow, we’re only getting a couple a crabs per pot even after a long soak,” says Monterey fisherman Mike Ricketts. “The fishermen on strike didn’t seem to mind, or even pay attention. Hardly anybody is fishing down here.”

Monterey Bay fishermen have caught just 14,000 pounds of crab since the season opened Nov. 15, as opposed Half Moon Bay crabbers pulling in 350,000 pounds over the same period. The initial numbers, provided by marine biologist Pete Kalvass with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, are likely on the low side as landing receipts are not digitized and they take a week or two to process. Last year, the crab numbers were 600,000 and 1.7 million pounds, respectively.

Robbie Torrise, owner of Robbie’s Ocean Fresh Seafood in Monterey, purchases all his live Dungeness crab from local fishermen, and needs 700-1,000 pounds to fulfill an order by the end of the week. He hopes the weather breaks and his guy will come through.

The Weekly is powered by the generosity of readers like you, who support our mission to produce engaging, independent and in-depth journalism.

Show Your Support
Learn More

“Fresh crab is a crapshoot,” Torrise says. “One day you have them, the next day you don’t. The restaurants I sell to understand that.”

Become a Weekly Insider.

Join Us
Learn More

Recommended for you

(1) comment

Vicki Bee

Did you try to find out why the catch is so low?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.