Captain Barry's Fresh Catch Blog

Live from the Half Moon Bay Harbor

19
Oct

Hi All, 2021 salmon season ended October 15th. What a season. It was the year of the rodeo. The ocean was at its formidable best, but the salmon were there. They were generally on the continental shelf so it was offshore most of the season. Our season this year was segmented. A stop start scenario this was due to the negotiations with Nmfs to get time on water vs there predicted salmon count. It’s great they were so off the mark this year as the salmon were plentiful. It’s a funny world to live in from sea to land. What I sea on the ocean vs the doom and gloom on land is the paradox. Basically I’m seeing a healthy improving ocean out there. Plenty of whales, sea lions. Blue sharks are back. Prolific schools of juvenile black cod. Miles upon miles of anchovies. The enigma this year was nmfs prediction on ocean salmon being so far off. I’m sure nmfs are glad also that there is significantly more salmon than they forecast. Let’s hope we get some good rain come for our glutinous water users this coming rain season. The ocean certainly isn’t the issue. I finished the season catching some salmon that were certainly not running up the river system this year. I think there raw essence on survival has our feeble bantering with theory and thesis leaving us the lessor. I’d like to end my short note here by thanking everybody for there support by tasting the beautiful King Salmon. There’s plenty of hope in our future here. Cdfw this year transported a lot of smelt to the lower end of our tributary system. Small moves like that will show huge results in coming seasons. My next post will be on the gnarly little bottom dweller. The Dungeness crab. Another political football in our land dealings.

01
Jun

Salmon

Hi all, May gave us our 1st round of a segmented salmon season. We got to fish 17 days in May below Pigeon Point. Weather was the big factor, it was a rodeo but the fish were there. Suppliers pricing at the hoist ranged from $9 to $12.50. Basically the only real volume of salmon on the west coast have been between Monterey and Pigeon Point. For those of you that got a salmon from me, Thankyou, and I have no doubt you enjoyed our legendary Californian King. I’ll list here our remaining days on the ocean for salmon. June 16th to 30th July 17th to 22nd. August 1st to 17th. All of September and 1st 2 weeks of October. That is a bit mealed season. With each day on the water being precious coupled with strong prices from suppliers. My only certainty for dock sales is at the end of each opener in June, July and August. Coming end of June. We have July 4th market for you all. I’ll be doing a email for this once we are closer and know we can provide. All in all, the whole fleet that took on the weather got a shot of juice to start our season. As with the ocean and salmon we will see how the seasons story unfolds. After our grateful start. My wife bought me a tee shirt with “chicken little was right”. I’ve been under the pretext of a Optimist is a hopeful pessimist. Let’s see how our next round goes. Thank you all. Captain Barry

06
Mar

The crab season is winding up

Hi all, It been a while since my last post. My crewman my wife and myself all had a positive on the covid. That’s all over with thank goodness. The crab are large, 2lb average but it has been a scarce season. As of this post a lot of the fleet are stacking there gear for the season. Our current politics is we work in Fortnightly season extensions meaning the season could be closed up on notice. Currently we are averaging just under 1 legal crab per pot. That is extremely slow but my lack of business acumen has worked in my favor. I bought the Helen Ruth before I sold the Rosella. Basically I put the cart before the horse. But, both boats have a 250 pot crab permit and we have both boats pots in the water. Allen my crewman can handle the deck and we meander through our slim pickings that add up to enough for us to keep going. Basically the ocean being what it is, a force and eco system us little monkeys are constantly adjusting scientifically to. The crab are all in Alaska and Canada this year. Washington is also having a good year. The market for there crab is not live so our live crab are little gold nuggets. We have moved to $10lb off the dock. I’m not having issues with that. I know the quality is there, they have a particular sweetness to the meat this year. It was also apparent last year. I am learning this web site admin a little better. Basic things. Like I tell my wife Therese. I’m not real bright but I can lift heavy things. Let’s see how our crab season ends up. Lastly and very importantly, I realize anyone reading this post has bought crab and is keeping in contact. Thankyou all for your support. Our live market, which as clients, you know is the superior product by an exaggerated mile. Our battle is not to lose this. Big business has no issues dumping frozen on the market. Thank you all again. Captain Barry

28
Jan

The Odds Came up

Yep, we’ve been Covid hit, I wish it was Coveted. We’ll be down for a couple weeks until we get the green light. My crew and my wife along with myself came up positive. We are not wasting too much brain space on the where and how, the main thing is none of us have the bad fever that leads to the dire consequences. I can see why it can lead to major problems, I did have a day with the hard to get breath routine, it was like being at high altitude. So folks, that’s our simple story at the moment. The crab pots will be having a truly long soak and I’ll have some real tidy paperwork up to date. I’ll do a blog once we are all clear and things are back to normal. Mid next week will be the earliest. If you need to get crab this week. Friday is a good weather day after the big blow. Boats will be out, Saturday there should be a lot of boats in harbor selling. We’ll be back!!! Barry

17
Jan

Crab Season is on!!!

Wow, an absolutely astonishing and deeply appreciated Wow, on your and the public’s, support with demand for live crab. You’ve really spoken a resounding blow to the cartels attempts to feed you frozen crab. In reality the crab speak for themselves and we all know that a freshly cooked crab is unbeatable.. So, this season so far from my point of view. We got all our gear in the ocean before the opener. It was not issue free and we really only had one true day of crab retrieval, Thursday. It was that 3rd time lucky deal. We’ve had to push for that scenario before, we generally get there. This website I had set up back in about 2016 was with the spurt of thought for online sales. I have honestly not had to really go past my texting and you will note I started some emails with salmon last year. With our delayed start I had time to learn the admin side of this web page. I also learned enough on Mailchimp to notify you all of incoming fresh catch. My phone has bee full on with texts and emails. I’m overly grateful with the response I’ve had. I also had the “be careful what you ask for” scenario The opener was highly unique. We fought for our justice on a fair price then hit the water, Lo and behold the crab are not there this year. Boom the next day the suppliers price doubles. Brain fart me earlier sent you an email on a fair price mark up from original numbers. I pull back into harbor with the realization the season is going to be slow and a grind. I also see every other boat is $2 above my price and the demand through the roof. It’s all good. As you are aware I explained my predicament to you all. Your tips were generous and covered my crew feeling they had a dumb skipper. Our future with orders. Currently demand can not meet supply. It’s not wow we for us, as our usual harvest far outweighs this scenario. 2008 was the last time we had a season similar to this. I’ll need to be very careful with orders here. Over ordering is a foolish exercise and I know the efforts you go through to get to the harbor. I’ll leave this current blog here. I’m in the bath planning my next move after a tumultuous start to this season. Once again. Thank you all. By your demand for the freshest crab you have given us a stronger voice in the marketing battles we must face. Cheers Captain Barry

03
Jan

2021 Crab.

      The Never-ending-story. Well, 2020 has gone, let’s start again. The crab fleet is tied to the dock in Washington, Oregon and California. There is major discrepancy in the price we want and what the major player is offering. Next obvious question would be, why should it affect my boat because I sell directly to yourselves and local suppliers? The big cartel is PAC choice. They also have there fingers in the fleet by giving loans out to boats. They are “there” boats. These are high volume large vessels that can handle in one load, what would take me the whole season to get. PAC choice controls the markets and have recently moved as far south as Bodega Bay. This year you would have noticed a lot of frozen crab on the market. That is PAC choice product. They have effectively taken San Francisco’s Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years markets from us and the smaller suppliers. How? They have impregnated themselves into our fleet. The volume of crab that does come into the docks could not be handled by the smaller suppliers. Smaller suppliers can not stick there necks out to far because PAC will take them out. If I went out and set my pots with my own market against the fleet consensus which is manipulated by PAC strategists, I would suffer consequences. I may lose all my pots. This would likely not be a direct order from PAC, but crab boats with the bravo “my way or the highway” retributive logic. It is not a free market. So, how do we solve this problem? I for one am going to let this season play out. I have been in the crab industry here for over a decade but still consider my self new boy on the block with these scenarios. I’m vocal at meetings but nevertheless do get rolled a lot. I’m letting this play out at the moment because this is the year to do so. 1. There is not much crab out there. we know that. 2. The demand for crab during the holidays would have swamped our docks. Boats would have all been selling from the dock due to PAC’s stalled negotiations and coupled with covid and suppliers trucks, I think covid would have won. Our dock sales would have been shut down. 3. PAC is showing there cards more clearly now, they want our season to start here in San Francisco from January 1st on. That would give them the holiday market here. PAC did send a letter to California fish and game alluding to that. They alluded to basically a coastwise opener on one date. It is a well crafted letter where there hidden agenda of dominating the market is not apparent. They used the whales and “fisherman asked us” to write this. Whales are a separate issue here and I will be devoting a section on my website to that issue. I spotted a major hole in that letter that I will be discussing with CDFW director Bonham. That being, at the height of Covid. PAC wants to bomb the entire coast into there facilities. If any of you have sent our harbor when the crab season is in full swing, it’s pandemonium. I am noticing a lot of fisherman in the fleet for San Francisco wanting our November 15th start back. I believe we can push PAC back. Our dealings will be with NGO’s and the exploding whale populations. Our coast is a healthy coast. We are regulated plenty. With crab, we only keep males over 6 1/4”. The breeding cycle is not interrupted. Generally, crab populations move in a 6 to 7 year cyclic curve. We are on the bottom of one now. HOW CAN YOU HELP. That is simple. Demand the best. Fresh local crab. The frozen rubbish does not compare. To PAC, he can not see you, he’s sees the graph of his frozen market pushing into our market. His customers are shareholders. Here’s hoping. Captain Barry      

28
Dec

2020-21 crab season

Hi all,          This years crab season has been an ordeal for  us all. No thanks giving or Christmas crab. Once we jumped the whale hoop the price became an issue.   Let me be brief on the whales, they are no longer shot with exploding spears and there population is increasing each year at a highly noticeable extent to my eyes on the ocean. It’s a good thing. They have plenty of food in the vast amount of anchovies out there. I’m seeing a healthy ocean.   The price. What has happened is the large cartel that also owns crab boats is dominating the market. They loaded there freezers up early in the season when we were in the whale issue. Then, you would have seen frozen crab in the markets for Christmas while we sat tied at the docks waiting for a start.   It’s not a matter of just saying I have my market and I can go out and supply to you. I would likely go out there and see that all my pots have been tampered with. At worst, the bouts cut off and a total loss to me.   We will get there. I know a frozen crab is stringy and a total loss compared to our fresh still wriggling market.   Stay with us and keep a demand up for quality. That’s the help we need. The small suppliers also need the help. They are standing idle while the cartel takes there market. Captain Barry