Local crabbers prepare to load pots onto fishing boats in Trinidad Harbor. | All photos by Matt Filar.

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Opening day was delayed and delayed again thanks to low meat weights and elevated domoic acid levels followed by price negotiations and the recent winter storms, but commercial crabbers finally got their pots in the waters off Humboldt County’s coast this morning as the commercial Dungeness crab season finally began. 

“Since the season officially opened on the 1st, with the weather and the price negotiations, they went out today and by Gentleman’s Agreement didn’t drop pots off the boats until 8 a.m.,” said local photographer Matt Filar, who was up well before dawn to document the occasion.

“The pots soak for a couple days, and then they pull them at 8 [a.m.] on Thursday, then bring the first catch in to dock, where they unload, weigh and then load them onto trucks that take them to Washington (Costco, mostly).”

As first reported by our friends at KMUD News, any excitement from the local crabbing fleet was tempered by a price per pound that’s less than half of what they earned last year — $2.25, compared to last year’s $4.75.

Harrison Ibach, President of Humboldt Fisherman’s Marketing Association, told KMUD News Director Lauren Schmidt on Tuesday evening that this is the first time since 2012 that the price-per-pound fell below three dollars.

Ibach attributed the price drop to a recent agreement between an Oregon fleet and processors, and he said the price could drop even lower later this week.

Fishermen are encouraging locals to purchase their crab right off the boat, down at the Woodley Island Marina, according to KMUD News Director Lauren Schmidt. 

Filar has graciously shared a few of his photos with the Outpost, for which we thank him.