A new pilot program will allow local fishers to directly sell freshly caught Dungeness crab to the public at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf starting on Wednesday, officials with the Port of San Francisco said.
The one-year pilot program was approved by the Port Commission last month and authorizes “off-the boat” crab sales between consumers and permitted fishers.
Under the permit, all fish and crab must be sold whole and uncooked, in accordance with all health code regulations. Additionally, all sales must occur from the vessel and no selling stations will be allowed to be set up along the wharf or anywhere else.
So far, five fishers have received permits for the program. As of Wednesday, vessels are selling crab at Pier 45 from slips 44 West and 50, and from Pier 47 from slips 70, 77 and 79.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement:
This new program will support our family-run businesses and provide the incredible experience of being able to buy directly off the boats … We hope buying direct from the boat will be the start of a new tradition for residents and visitors, and yet another reason to come on down to Fisherman’s Wharf and celebrate San Francisco.”
Crab Boat Owners Association President John Barnett said:
This will be the first season in San Francisco that the public can actually buy live crabs from the fishermen off the boat. Good for the consumer, the fishermen, and the environment.”
The program is part of an effort to support local fishers, who have been hit with delayed seasons over recent years due to both Covid-19 and wildlife protection initiatives. Additionally, back in May 2020, a disastrous fire along the waterfront resulted in more than 30 fishermen losing some 8,000 crab, shrimp and black cod traps and pots.
Pier 45, located at Fisherman’s Wharf, has long been regarded as the heart of The City’s crab and fishing industry, housing the largest concentration of commercial fish processors and distributors on the West Coast.