I read with much interest the front-page article on the crab season finally opening this past Saturday. Of particular interest was the our of the local area boats who have showed up to crab in the ocean off the Columbia River.
They were citing reasons such as easy access to the port and fishing grounds off the mouth of the river. Hasn’t this changed from at least 50-60 years ago when most of the crabbing was done by local boats and captains from both sides of the river? It makes you wonder why these boats are coming here now from as far away as Seward, Alaska, to fish these waters that are unfamiliar to them. These boats are far bigger and can carry twice to three times as much gear as most of the local boats here.
Could it be that they have overfished their own home grounds to the point that they have to look somewhere else in order to stay in business? So now they are here to eventually do the same. Is it good for the local economy? For the short term, the answer is yes. Long term, like say 4-5 years? I don’t think so. My guess is they will have to leave here, too, especially when there’s no quota, “and may the best man win” kind of attitude. That’s why that boat from Alaska has traveled some (2,000?) nautical miles to fish here. What’s the cost of diesel fuel now — $4, $5 a gallon? He should change that slogan of his to, “may the biggest boat with the most pots win.”
I’m not trying to say that these guys don’t have a right to make a living and feed their families. They need to understand that the local crabbers who have lived here for most of their lives year round have that same right, too!!