Click on the text above “Crab fisherman on strike for $3 a pound…” to see this entire post.
Another crab season is upon us, like last year it is far from “normal”. But then again, with respect to the global environment, normal is undergoing radical changes.
Last year the season was delayed for months due to toxic levels of domoic acid in crab flesh (along with many other sea creatures).
This year the agency tasked with regulating crab fishing, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has sequentially opened small regions of the California Coast to fishing as domoic acid levels drop below safe thresholds.
Instead of one price negotiation at the beginning of the season, wholesale buyers have decided to hold new talks for each region that opens up for fishing.
Bodega Bay fisherman are none too happy about this and have gone on strike. Fisherman want $3 a pound, buyers are offering $2.75 a pound.
Crab fishing is a boom and bust proposition, a few good years followed by a few not so good years. Fisherman try to offset these declines with a good salmon season, though “good salmon season” is a bit of a contradiction in terms of late.
Humans have for decades damned rivers, denying these ancient fish the spawning grounds they need, diverted water from rivers to give farmers water so they can grow almonds, cotton, pistachios and other high margin crops in what was originally the California desert. Pesticide and Herbicide use, clear-cut logging and creek-side construction have further degraded the environment to the point of near extinction for many historically huge salmon runs.
Both Salmon runs and crab populations are under attack, by humans!
Instead of asking for $3 a pound, I advocate crab fisherman hold out for $6.
Give fisherman $3 for each pound and put the other $3 into a fund used to undo the damage we humans inflict on the sea with our insatiable appetite for, well, damn near everything.
Think of it like a carbon tax. The new crab tax.
Set aside money for people like myself and the legions of others that walk our beaches picking up the mess of plastic ropes, plastic bait jars, plastic foam floats, crab traps left on our beaches each crab season to be ground in to a plastic soup by wave action. A soup that becomes part of the food chain of the planet See this post from two years ago for images of what crab fishing does to Point Reyes National Seashore each year.
Human trash collected from Point Reyes beaches during six visits
Research on how to collect crabs without endangering whales could be funded with this crab tax.
Humpback Whale entangled in crab fishing gear Photo: E. Lyman/HWS and NOAA
Humpback Whale entangled in crab fishing gear
Thankfully California has for the first time enacted a law that allows crab fisherman to collect abandoned gear after the season closes to reduce these horrible entanglements (and often deaths) caused to whales and other sea-life.
Reports of recent entanglements:
After huge blue whale gets tangled in crab lines, Californians struggle with elaborate rescue mission
Daring rescue of whale off Farallones
Whale entanglements on the West Coast rise again in 2018, is this the new normal?
While we are thinking clearly and proposing that human harvesting activities pay the true cost to the planet, let’s double the price of salmon and oysters, clams and mussels. Set aside money to be used to clean up the messes we have made, and then figure out how to stop making new messes as we feed ourselves.
Four damns are soon to come down on the Klammath River, opening up over 300 miles of historic spawning grounds to a salmon run completely wiped out 80 years ago. Let’s restore the natural river habitat that nature found worked, instead of trying to use science to build fast growing salmon.
Another view of this troubling news here.
In a few months the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife will be holding a meeting to discuss Best Management Practices (BMP) for oyster growers in California. A long needed set of common sense rules for an industry that has historically been operated in a “wild west” sense, with lax or little oversight. Please watch this space for an announcement on where and when that meeting takes place so you can voice your support for common sense rules in all leases for use of public lands/waters to profit by private companies. Send me your email address if you’d like to be notified.
Let’s make sure that Tomales Bay looks more like this
Great and snowy egrets in flight. Tomales Bay, mouth of Walker Creek.
Instead of this
abandoned plastic trays