Crab fishermen want fair deal

November 21, 2011

BAY AREA crab boat operators are on strike after walking out of negotiations with seafood distributors over the price of their catch.

With the season for Dungeness crab beginning on November 15, fisherman are asking for $2.50 a pound for what they bring, but the big seafood processors are only offering $2 a pound. According to reports, smaller local processors already agreed to the fishermen's price, but the biggest distributors are holding out for concessions.

In fact, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the fishermen's associations lowered their demand to $2.25 in an attempt at compromise, but the processors dropped their offer to $1.75. This is what processors have paid for the last few years.

Steve Mills of Dyeing Breed Seafood said it's the first time in his 44 years on the job that there's been a strike.

"The only people making money in seafood are the distributors," Mills said. "Lobstermen in Maine are getting $1 a pound this year, but they mark that up to $35 when we get them here."

Mills says the fishermen are not setting traps unless their demands are met. "People watch The Deadliest Catch--well, I do what they do in a 35-foot boat. We risk our necks. We're getting our price."

Further Reading

From the archives