Vicki Crow, F/V Beticia
Vicki Crow can be found on Dock A in Moss Landing most days selling fish and crab from her boat, the Beticia. She tries to carry what’s in season but has a freezer stocked with the local catch to keep up the supply when fishing’s slow.
Salmon, halibut, rockfish and shrimp were for sale on a recent February afternoon. The Dungeness crab season in Monterey Bay hadn’t been as bountiful as she had hoped so she had none to offer, but a stream of regular customers who rely on Crow for their seafood have kept her afloat and have buoyed her spirits.
At 60-plus-years-old she doesn’t spend much time on the bay hauling in the catch anymore, but she doesn’t want to get away from the sea and the bounty it holds.
“It’s all I know at this point, so I don’t think I’ll be doing anything else,” Crow says, wearing her standard attire of a hooded sweatshirt and a striped knit cap with ear flaps.
Crow, a Santa Barbara native, got her start diving for sea urchins and abalone around the Channel Islands before coming north in 1989 in search of salmon. Over the years she has fished for just about everything that can be caught with a hook and line on the California Coast from Fort Bragg to Morro Bay.
A lot has changed in the 30 years since Crow came to Moss Landing. Gone are the antique shops that made Moss Landing a popular destination and an atmosphere in the port that reached a fever pitch when boats came back regularly loaded with salmon.
There was a time in the 1990s when many salmon fishermen sold directly from their boats, but now Crow is the last to make her fishing vessel a fish market.
When reminiscing on the glory days, plenty of fish stories and tall tales of maritime exploits come to her mind. But true to the way of a salty seafarer, it’s “stuff that I don’t even really want to talk about” in polite company, she says with a laugh.