Unlike last year, commercial crab fishing season will kick off right on schedule and in time to get crab dips onto Thanksgiving tables around the Bay this year. The caveat: retail prices will hit about $6 per pound by the time it gets to your favorite fish market.

The higher price for this year's catch is due to early reports that the great-with-melted butter local delicacy might be harder to come by this season. Early hauls from the sport fishermen and private boats who have been out crabbing since last weekend are apparently coming up a little lighter than usual, which pressured local distributors to agree to a $3-per-pound wholesale price. Rising fuel costs and better wages for laborers didn't exactly help to keep prices down either. Last year, the fishermen and wholesalers set the price at $2.25 but only after delaying the start of the season while they could crawl through a couple weeks of contentious negotiations.

Regardless of the price, the commercial fishing season officially hits the water tomorrow, with the first loads of crab expected to come in by Friday. If you're the sort who desperately needs crab dip to make your Thanksgiving spread complete, it would be a good idea to put in your order with your favorite local seafood company now. As Angel Cincotta of noted local fishmongers Alioto-Lazio's told NBC, last year's delay crushed her business and only pissed off customers. This year, Cincotta said, "God willing, we should be able to fill all those crab orders for Thanksgiving."