Californians not getting their Thanksgiving crabs
Crabs were ready for the pot last Thanksgiving season in San Francisco.
November 23rd, 2011
12:47 PM ET

Californians not getting their Thanksgiving crabs

A couple of turkeys got a Thanksgiving pardon from President Obama at the White House on Wednesday, but beneath the Pacific Ocean, thousands and thousands of crabs will be around for a holiday they normally experience from a pot and a plate.

Dungeness crab have traditionally been served on Northern California tables along with the turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving. This year, however, a price dispute between crab fishermen and processors has left market shelves and restaurant menus bereft of the crustaceans, according to media reports from the Bay Area.

Crab fishermen want $2.50 a pound for their catch, but processors are offering only $2, so the fishermen are staying in port, and traps aren't going into the sea, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

"I feel terrible, because I know everyone loves Thanksgiving crab, but we can't work for nothing," Larry Collins, head of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association, told the Chronicle.

"We're pretty united on this. We can't go unless we all go," he said of the 150 or so crab fishermen on the Northern California coast, according to the Chronicle.

"We are hearing nothing but stories about how this is throwing a monkey wrench into Thanksgiving Day plans. Usually, these disputes last a day or two, but not this long," Keith Fraser, co-owner of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael, told the Marin Independent Journal.

"We have hundreds of people asking for crab, and we are disappointing them all," Fraser is quoted as saying.

Fishermen were paid $1.75 a pound last year, according to the Chronicle, but say they need $2.50 this year due to rising costs for fuel, traps and bait.

Joe Cincotto, regional general manager for Pacific Fresh Seafood, told the Marin paper that processors face higher costs, too, and he had little sympathy for the plight of the fishermen.

"I don't think many people are going out and making $10,000 or $15,000 in a day," he told the Independent Journal. "When's enough enough?"

So while the argument continues, most consumers do without.

"They're surprised because it's the first time that we don't have crab for Thanksgiving week," Herson Sariles, seafood team leader at Whole Foods in Monterey, told the Herald of Monterey County. "Actually, besides turkey and pies, for that week I would say it's the third item that people are looking for."

While most shoppers will have to do without Dungeness, customers of the Sea Harvest markets may get lucky.

Owner Lynn Platt told The Herald that the family fishing business run by her brother Richard Deyerle has a few boats in the water and is getting some small supplies to the Sea Harvest markets.

But while Deyerle is happy for his business, he feels for the community as a whole.

"It's awful. There's no volume, so it just creates ill feelings with everyone. We have crabs. That's great. But I don't want bad feelings with people. It's a tricky situation," The Herald quotes him as saying.

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Business • California • Economy • Food • Thanksgiving
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. bobcat ( in a hat )

    Be in Califonia, it's probably surf and smog.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO

    Thanks kung. Howdy gung.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Hi, guys.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat ( in a hat )

    How goes it banasy, ready to talk some turkey ?

    November 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BOMBO

    Not me. I'm in a crabby mood.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat ( in a hat )

      Alright Mr. Crabs. I'll have a couple crabby patties.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. icheedownunda

    I can share my crabs.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mejazzbo

    OWS in crab waters. I'm with the crabbers on this one. It isn't everyday they make good money.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      Well if your using that logic I guess the question would be, how many days do they make good money since at $10k a day it doesn't take money "good" days to make up for a few hundred bad ones.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • EQ620

      Well they're making nothing now.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ken

    Just have them stop in the red light districts of San Francisco. They'll get plenty of crabs that way. LOL

    November 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Necrofun

      I knew if I scrolled down no more than two pages I would find this comment.

      November 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Realist

    They are easy to catch with a rod and reel, once they grab the bait they don't let go and ya just haul them out.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    @bc(iah)
    Not talk...eat, maybe!
    @Bombo:
    I concur!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy© squarepants

    Bc(iah): o.O

    November 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GonzoG

    If Californians want the crabs they should go to Pahrump, Nevada like everybody else.

    Then see their doctor for the cure.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick1948

    Economy in the tank – unemployment over 9% and what are these idiots worried about? Crabs.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cpc65

    I worked with a girl who was of Irish – Italian heritage and her family would have pasta and seafood for Thanksgiving. I'm guessing that came from the Italian side of her family.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)

      And on St. Patricks day, they had corned beef and meatballs.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gung hoe

    Howdy bombo bobcat luv your analogy catter, TOP OF THE AFTERNOON THE QUEEN BANASY!!!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
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