Mayor Announces Emergency Assistance for Crab Boats
MAYOR LEE ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO COMMERCIAL CRAB BOATS & RECEIVERS DUE TO LACK OF DUNGENESS CRAB SEASON
City to Aid Local Crab Industry Affected by Compromised Crab Season
San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced an emergency relief plan for the local crab and fish industry affected by the delay of the local Dungeness crab season in California caused by the presence of domoic acid. The Port of San Francisco’s Crab Industry Relief Plan would waive fees and rents for a three month period for the berthing, storage and leasing for commercial crab boat owners and receivers, and through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the City will provide customized business assistance to the Port’s local commercial crab fishermen and receivers.
“San Francisco’s Dungeness crab is known around the world, and the delay of crab season has taken a substantial toll on the livelihood of the men and women in the local commercial crab industry,” said Mayor Lee. “This plan will mitigate the economic impact to the small businesses who depend on the crab industry for income and will help families during this time of crisis.”
The Port’s proposed Crab Industry Relief Plan, being voted on by the Port Commission this afternoon, would help to provide temporary financial relief to the Port’s local crab fishermen and receivers/processors by waiving specific fees and rental charges for the three months that correspond with the opening of the commercial wild salmon season. The proposed Crab Industry Relief Plan recommends a three month suspension of berthing fees for permanent San Francisco berth holders with valid commercial Dungeness crab fishing permits from the State Department of Fish and Wildlife; crab pot storage fees; and rental charges for Port crab receivers who hold valid State Fish and Wildlife landings of crab from crab boats at their Port of San Francisco facility from November 15, 2014 through June 15, 2015.
“The Port’s proposed plan would throw a lifeline to many small businesses, fishermen and deckhands during a period of unprecedented financial impacts,” said Port Executive Director Monique Moyer. “The Crab Industry Relief Plan will not make these businesses whole, but it’s a sensible plan to help sustain this important community and give back a small margin of what they have given our Port for more than a century.”
In addition to the Port’s efforts, Mayor Lee has also directed the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to provide customized business assistance to the Port’s local crab fishermen and receivers. OEWD will also provide employment services to assist workers in the crab fishing industry who are in transition from the fishing closure. OEWD will conduct proactive outreach to inform affected workers about free workforce services including job search assistance; career exploration and planning; job preparation workshops; training opportunities; and access to computers, fax, and copy machines; unemployment information; and supportive services, such as childcare and transportation.
“This is an industry made up of small family owned operators that depend on the season to support their families and their workforce,” said OEWD Director Todd Rufo. “From direct business assistance to employee services, we’re here to help these local businesses and their affected employees during these tough times.”
The Port’s Pier 45 is one of the West Coast’s major commercial fishing centers. According the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in 2014, 19.2 million pounds of fish landings with a gross value of $26.2 million were landed at the Port of San Francisco. The fishing industry generated approximately $2.35 million in revenue for the Port in fiscal year 2015/2016 with 129 long term berth holders at the Wharf and numerous receivers and processors. The main fishing seasons in San Francisco are salmon (April to fall), crab (November to spring) and herring (December to February).
Recently, the local fishing fleet has suffered a double hit as four years of drought conditions have severely impacted the wild salmon run greatly limiting last year’s commercial salmon season. Combined with the fact that there’s been no local crab season, many of the Port’s crab boat owners and receivers have been pushed to the economic brink. Many of the crab fleet and receivers earn the lion’s share of their annual revenue in a two month period, from mid-November through mid-January.
"Our fishing boat fleet and the crab receivers have been devastated by this lack of a season,” said San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association President Larry Collins. “The assistance that the Port and City propose will greatly help these small businesses weather this storm.”