In her weekly roundup of news and notes from the Santa Cruz County business community, Jessica M. Pasko talks to local fishermen about yet another delayed start to the Dungeness crab season, the latest openings and closings across the region and a $325,000 price tag for a fencing company that is up for sale.
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects on economies everywhere, we’ll be taking a closer look at the movers and shakers, the growth of industries, and what’s really driving the Santa Cruz County economy. I’ll be spotlighting some of the biggest areas for opportunity, updates on local development and all things underpinning the regional business scene, each Wednesday.
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California’s Dungeness crab season delayed again, dealing another blow to state’s fishermen
A delayed commercial Dungeness crab season marks another blow for California’s fishing industry. State officials announced Friday that the season would be delayed until at least Dec. 1, meaning there won’t be crab available for Thanksgiving, which was traditionally one of the biggest markets for the seafood.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife delayed the season because of a high abundance of humpback whales between the Bodega Bay and Monterey Bay regions. Director Charlton Bonham said that allowing the use of crab traps would increase the risk of a whale entanglement. His agency will reevaluate the situation around Nov. 17 to determine next steps for the season, which was scheduled to open Nov. 15.
This marks the sixth consecutive year the state has delayed the season, and it means crab fishermen won’t be able to capitalize on the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is typically when customer demand for Dungeness crab is highest.
Announcement of the delay comes as the state’s fishing community is still reeling from the cancellation of the 2023-24 salmon season.
“It’s really bad,” said fishermen Tim Obert, a native Santa Cruzan who’s been fishing for over 20 years, Obert of the current conditions for California’s commercial fishing operations. “This is the worst year I’ve seen before. We have always had the salmon to back up the crab.”
ICYMI: 10 new food businesses slated for downtown Santa Cruz
A Monterey-based vegan donut company and a second location of Soquel’s vegetarian burger/breakfast joint, Pretty Good Advice, are just two of the new food businesses coming to Pacific Avenue in the coming months. A total of 10 new food-related businesses are currently planned for downtown Santa Cruz, and new construction means more restaurant spaces will be available soon. Lily Belli dug into some of the new spots we can expect to see and what’s to come.
Ch-ch-changes: Openings, closings and other developments
- Cafe GSC shutters downtown spot: Cafe GSC, formerly known as Cafe Gratitude, closed its doors at 123 Lincoln St. in Santa Cruz for good. The vegan restaurant opened in 2011. As Lily Belli reports, the owner blames rising costs, incurred debt and decreased business for the closure.
- Paoutygrooms opens in Watsonville: Dog groomer Paola Gonzalez’s new brick-and-mortar business opened last month at 1039 Freedom Blvd.
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Looking at the numbers
- 5: That’s how many years 11th Hour has been serving up tasty coffee beverages. The company, which marked its anniversary on Friday, now operates two locations in Santa Cruz, downtown and the Westside.
- 10: The number of new hotel constructions and major hotel renovation projects that have taken place locally in 2022-23.
- $352,000: Looking for a new turnkey venture? That’s the asking price for one local fencing company.
Save the date
- Thursday and Friday: The Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance holds its annual conference at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz, bringing together stakeholders from Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Santa Clara and southern Alameda counties.
- Thursday: The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership will hold its ninth annual State of the Region in Seaside to discuss all things regional economy. UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive will emcee. Details here.
- Thursday, Nov. 16: The Slugs in Biotech job fair will help connect UC Santa Cruz undergraduate and graduate students with internship and job opportunities in the biotech industry. The event takes place at the Baskin Engineering building on campus between 12:30 and 4 p.m. More info here.
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Business news worth reading
- OneWheel follows up its massive recall with a new $3,200 board for ‘pros’ (The Verge)
- America’s economy is booming. Why aren’t its bosses happier? (The Economist)
- For Watsonville’s Fox Theater, has a savior finally arrived? (Lookout)
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