If an updated proposal gets greenlit by the Port Commission, San Franciscans might have the chance to do something they previously couldn’t: Buy fresh, still-alive Dungeness crab — straight from commercial fishing vessels at Fisherman's Wharf.
San Francisco is, more or less, synonymous with Dungeness crab, especially around Thanksgiving. And now, crab aficionados might soon be able to satiate their crustacean fix by picking out Dungeness crabs right off fishing boats.
As reported by KPIX, a proposed update to a 2017 program — The Retail Fishing Program — that allowed direct fish sales from commercial fishing vessels at Fisherman’s Wharf Harbor could soon include crab transactions, as well. Previously, selling crabs was prohibited in the retail fish sales program; it was feared that offering Dungeness crabs to the public off these boats would have a detrimental impact on a large number of already-established crab stands along the harbor.
However, COVID-19 has since changed that idea. During the pandemic, there were no crab stands in operation at Fisherman’s Wharf — and just a handful of crab stands have returned. The expansion of The Retail Fish Program, however, does not include cooked crab, which would help create minimal competition with the surviving crab stands.
The proposal cites the selling of crab off boats would increase "engagement" among frequenters of the port — offering the chance to educate the public on commercial fishing, sustainable harvesting practices, etc. — and boost "economic vitality" of "non-maritime commerce" and foot traffic along the port, as well as other parts of the city.
Per the news outlet, the proposal will be presented to the Port Commission on Tuesday; a vote is scheduled two weeks after. And if approved, fishermen will be able to sell live crab from their boats — immediately.
Photo: Getty Images/GomezDavid