California’s Crab Season Faces Another Delay Before Thanksgiving

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California’s Crab Season Faces Another Delay Before Thanksgiving

Bodega Bay, Calif. – On a foggy morning in early November, Dan Kammerer pulled a crab net on a fishing boat about three miles off the coast of Northern California and assessed its catch: 10 or so Dungeness crabs, spindly Red foot akimbo.

“I’ll pick three of these,” said 79-year-old Kammerer, as he dumped some small crustaceans back into the ocean. “Will I pick three winners? I don’t know.”

Kammerer, a retired fisherman, is playing a small role in helping California’s crab fishing industry, which faces an uncertain future as it grapples with a short season.

That day, he was selecting crabs for testing for domoic acid, a neurotoxin that, if found in seafood, could prevent the opening of the commercial fishing season. The venom isn’t the only unwanted presence: Over the years, a handful of migratory whales have been caught in crab traps.

Now, the season may not open until most of the whales are gone.

“We’ve gone from a seven-month-long crab season to three months, which is the best,” said Ben Platt, president of the California Coast Crab Association. He and some other fishermen say it risks not only their lives, but potentially the future of California’s crab fishery, one of the state’s most valuable.

If regulations keep tightening, Platt said, “there’s a good chance the Dungeness fishing industry won’t survive.”

The reduced season is the result of a bitter conflict between fishermen and environmentalists, who have long campaigned to save California’s marine life from becoming entangled in fishing gear. In 2019, they reached an agreement with the state government and a group of fishermen to ensure that an area’s crab season can begin only after it has been declared free of most threatened and endangered whales.

It’s also a case study on whether the country’s key fisheries can adapt to climate change: Rising ocean temperatures, scientists say, could help encourage whales to crabbing territory. Warm water can also increase blooms of toxic algae that can poison shellfish.

“It all boils down to this,” Jarrod Santora, a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said of climate change’s knockoff effects on the fishing community. Hunting has also significantly improved the humpback whale population, which has historically been threatened, he said.

The fisherman, Kammerer said: “When there are so many of them, who wins the battle? Whale or fisherman?”

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This year, the weather is still not open in some parts of the state including the Bay Area. For many people, crab will not be on the Thanksgiving menu. Other fishermen worry that they will lose out at the Christmas market as well.

“If we don’t have the product, we’re going to lose our income,” said Tony Anello, 73, a fisherman and owner of Spud Point Crab Company, a restaurant in Bodega Bay, a small town about 70 miles north . of San Francisco.

Anello, who has been fishing for more than five decades, said he has seen his town increasingly become a tourist destination as many fishermen move in. “Boats are getting low.”

For young fishermen, breaking into the crab fishery can seem impossible.

“I tried to get this job for 10 years,” said 37-year-old Liam Bretton, who was recently repairing crab traps in a yard in front of Spud Point Marina in Bodega Bay on Thursday. But now, he said, “I don’t see much of the future.”

In Kammerer’s case, the stricter rules were part of what prompted him to retire and sell his boat four years ago. But the ocean continues to lure him back, she said, and so he occasionally acts as a deckhand for Dick Ogg, a friend and fellow crab fisherman.

That day, the pair cruised through the seafloor, launching nets and carrying them back with an air of optimism, though they acknowledged that the future of the fishery was uncertain.

“This is our lives, this is what we do every day, we don’t want it to go away; We want to take care of this environment,” said Ogg, 68.

“I can’t imagine life without fishing,” he said. “I’m a water person.”

Livia Albeck-Ripka is a reporter for The New York Times based in California.

Southern California

  • Weather Alert: Santa Ana winds will increase fire risk this week in parts of Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

  • Smelly City: As The Los Angeles Times reports, for weeks, Carson residents have complained of foul smells, making it not the first time the Southern California city has had a stink.

  • Supply Chain Progression: The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will delay fines for cargo containers, CNBC reports.

  • Student Comments: As the Los Angeles Times reports, thousands of Los Angeles students who have missed a COVID vaccination deadline may not be able to attend classes in person.

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central california

  • Citizens held in immigration detention: The lawsuit was filed against Immigration and Customs Enforcement on behalf of a US citizen who spent 36 days in the San Joaquin Valley immigration lockup, The Fresno Bee reports.

  • Air Particles: Kern County has significantly reduced emissions of particulate matter, but wildfires threaten to undo progress, The Bakersfield Calif. reports.

Northern California

  • DoorDash: As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the restaurant delivery company will pay San Francisco Couriers $5.3 million for health care coverage and paid sick leave as mandated by the city.

See $2.7 Million Homes in California.

Today’s tip comes from Lisa McInnis, who recommends Trona Pinnacles in Central California:

“My husband and I are East Coaster in RVs nine months a year for the past 10 years. We’ve loved driving down Highway 395. This year we drove on California State Route 178 and camped at Trona Pinnacles for a few days. Dala. It’s a washboard-bouncy road for a five-mile trek, and so well worth the ride.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions at [email protected] We will share more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Tiffany Moss-Ennis, who lives in Bakersfield, recently discovered a hidden talent: playing the card game Uno.

As Bakersfield California reports, she was selected as a finalist from a pool of two million competitors and was invited to compete at the Uno World Championships in Las Vegas this month.

Moss-Ennis came in second and walked away with a huge trophy and a $5,000 check.

Thanks for reading. We will come back tomorrow.

ps is here Today’s Mini CrosswordPlayground retort (5 characters) , and a clue.

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