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Bodega Bay Crab Traps Remain Onshore


Bodega Bay Crab Traps Remain Onshore

By Jim Kelly

As the heavy clouds roll into Northern California this holiday season bringing a blessing of rain to the parched soil, we can give thanks to the Los Niño currents. But for a large number of families living on Sonoma’s coast, this Christmastime will bring to them no tree, no gifts, no songs around a warming fire.

These are the boat owners and crewmembers of the Fishermen’s Marketing Association of Bodega Bay. They are suffering because the warm waters of Los Niño sweeping in these storms have brought with them a massive red tide rendering the Dungeness crab, all of us enjoy at this time of year, toxic. While the loss of Neptune’s sweetest gift is a minor inconvenience to most of us, it’s a hardship to restaurants and markets depending on tourism, and a disaster to the fishermen who call Bodega Bay their home.

On December 20, these quiet, hardworking neighbors of ours gathered at the Bodega Bay Grange to measure their choices for the coming year. The mood was, of course, somber but foremost on their minds was making sure the public’s health is not placed at risk by bringing in crabs with high counts of domoic acid produced by the algae. Crabs and clams pose a significant health risk now, possibly causing seizures or even death, so the State of California has suspended the fishing season.

In order to open the crabbing season, three subsequent clean testings of crabs in all relevant parts of the coastline in California need to be recorded and nobody is more determined to get this done right than our fishermen in Bodega. Bay. At the meeting, they all voiced a determination to make sure all the waters off the shores of Sonoma and Marin Counties were free of toxic crabs. At their own cost, they are motoring out and pulling in crabs for testing by the State Health Department.

So, with their boats sitting heavy in the water, owners and crew are waiting for the all-clear signal. They ask only for some relief from the County of Sonoma by suspending slip fees while their boats float idle at the docks, help for families of the crew, some of whom are going hungry over the holidays, and patience from the County in letting those crab cages sitting along Coast Highway stay where they are just a little bit longer.

Any kind citizens of our county who wants to help with donations to these families can call 707-875-3625. This would be a miracle for many of them. The situation is dire and wouldn’t it be a wonderful Christmas miracle if our wineries and other businesses could come up with some assistance for our Bodega Bay men of the sea.

None of these proud people are going to ask anyone for a dime so you aren’t hearing this from them. They will suffer and lose their homes, boats or jobs without any of us knowing about their plight. But as you’re having your Christmas season filled with the abundance you’ve worked so hard for, please pause a moment and think of those who need you more than you may know.

At the very least, anyone who has any clout with our board of supervisors, please urge them to pass emergency measures to help save our fishing fleet. Relief from slip fees would definitely be a miracle for them and help keep our fleet in business.

Tests are showing marked improvement in the toxin levels but it’s already too late for the Christmas market and many boat owners are thinking the season may be over for them.

I believe in miracles and I hope all of you will be blessed by them in the coming year, especially those of you who go out to sea in boats. We love ya, guys, hang in there.


Opportunity to Support
 â€¨How YOU Can Help our Fishermen TODAY!

Dining on delicious Dungeness crab caught by our Bodega Bay fishing community has sadly been postponed due to high levels of Domoic acid in the crab from the warmer El Nino water's algae bloom.  

Our devoted and hard-working fishermen are now in need of our help.  Local neighbors started a grass roots effort over the holidays to set up a food pantry after learning of one fisherman who had gone without food for 3 days.  Non-perishable food is still welcomed at the Spud Point Marina where you can simply go in and drop off food between 10 - 3pm at 1818 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay 707 875-3535 

The Bodega Bay Area Chamber and the Bodega Bay Community Center are joining forces to provide much needed assistance.  More to follow on other opportunities to support.

Sonoma County has set up a Non-Profit Foundation 5013c where funds can be donated specifically for our fishermen.  All funds will be 100% passed on to help them with food and funds.  One distribution of food certificates of $100 each already has been distributed.

To Donate Now:

Link to Parks Foundation web site

Click on the "Donate Now" button on the home page.

The "Donate Now"  button will take you to a page where you can use either option below to designate it to the “Spud Point Fishermen Assistance Fund” 

The first option below allows them to select the “Spud Point Fishermen’s Assistance Fund” the recipient

The second option allows you to type in the “Spud Point Fishermen’s Assistance Fund”


James Nantell

Deputy Director 

Sonoma County Regional Parks

707 565-2946

Thank you to the County for their help.  There is also under consideration at the Supervisor's Meeting this coming Tuesday to waive some moorage fees and additional assistance.

Let's help our Fishermen in their time of need. 

Thank you very much for the article in the Gazette!  Just wanted to give you a follow up, the motion before the BOS (Board of Supervisor’s) passed yesterday with a 5-0 Vote!  The BOS also would like to meet again as the season moves on to see if there is a possibility of more assistance.  

Food continues to come into Spud Point on a regular basis, which we are extremely thankful for and so are the fisherman.  I’m sure you have heard about the Safeway gift card program that Caryl Hart started.  I see that you have posted the link in the article.  Thank you!  The citizen of Bodega Bay have really come together to help a vital part of their community through a very difficult time.


Lori Cavanaugh

Spud Point Marina Assistant

1818 Westshore Rd

Bodega Bay, CA 94923

707-875-3535 Ofc

707-875-3436 Fax