Tyler Silvy, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The rush to renew a North Coast New Year’s tradition — feasting on freshly caught Dungeness crab — may help ease the pinch of a late start to the season for fishermen and retailers, but mediocre early returns have so far added a little lemon juice to the cut endured this year by the fleet.
“I won’t say it’s poor,” said Bodega Bay fisherman Dick Ogg, before offering a laugh. “I’ll say it’s less than good. It’s not exactly what we had expected. Our original anticipation was that there were a fair quantity of crabs in the area. Unfortunately, that is not the case.”
The prediction of a mountain of Dungeness crab lying in wait at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean prompted a number of fishing boats from outside the area to descend this month on Bodega Bay.
They had time, as the season was delayed a month until Dec. 15 to allow endangered humpback whales time to clear the area and head south to their winter home off the coast of Mexico.
Ogg, the vice president of Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Marketing Association, said the added pressure didn’t help matters, but it ultimately comes down to this: There just aren’t as many crabs as predicted. And at this point, Ogg said, “the majority have been caught.”