Crab lovers in Brookings-Harbor have had a smorgasbord this past week.

Because of the work of the crab fishing fleet, local seafood stores are packed with fresh stock of the palate-pleasing crustaceans.

Cooked crab can be purchased at local fish markets for about $4.29 per pound, while live crab is going for about $3.89 per pound.

Boats heavy with crab have been lining up under the hoists at the Port of Brookings Harbor all week.

Crew members dressed in wet weather gear scurried about in the pouring rain, unloading their cargo into giant plastic bins.

The fleet headed out for the open sea Dec. 11 following an agreement reached between the fishermen and buyers of $1.60 per pound for the crab.

The fishermen had hoped to start with $1.75 per pound, but knew the price would go up as the season progressed.

Bernie Lindley, president of the Brookings Fishermens Marketing Association said, We all knew that $1.60 wasnt going to be enough, but we settled just to get the season started.

Surprisingly, the price per pound shot up as early as last weekend. Lindley said the crab in Brookings-Harbor was selling for as much as $2.10 per pound to out of town buyers.

We were afraid it would take a while. Were happy to see the invisible hand (supply and demand) has moved the prices up.

Fishermen are still hampered by unfavorable weather, as storm after storm ravages the coast, making it difficult for the boats to get in and out of the harbor past the Chetco River bar.

We havent been able to do a lot of harvesting due to the weather conditions, said Lindley, whose boat, the Ginny and Jill, has a three-man crew. Weve only been out four days so far.