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Forget the holiday ham -- local seafood merchants said the North Coast is hungry for crab this Christmas season.

Head fishmonger Mark McCulloch of Mr. Fish Seafood in Eureka said he could only take a couple minutes on the phone to answer questions due to a large line of customers. Judging by the crowd on Monday, he said that he is expecting to sell out of crab before he closes today for the holiday.

”When we run out of crab, we go,” McCulloch said. “Right now, I have a line of people out the door.”

The North Coast Co-op in Eureka is also expecting to sell out of the popular crustacean, according to meat clerk Ananda Wolfe.

”We've already gone through half of what we have today, which is about 250 pounds,” Wolfe said.

As to how the crab looks, Wolfe described them as “heavy and fat.”

Though he and other crab fishermen have not had much of a haul this year, local fisherman Paul Pellegrini said the crabs look “heavy.”

Pellegrini said that they will most likely be taking their traps out of the water for good sometime during the next two weeks.

”We would quit now, but we're stubborn,” Pellegrini said.

The North Coast Co-op and Mr. Fish Seafood will both be open today, but said they do not guarantee they will have crab in stock all day.

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504 or Follow him on Twitter @Will_S_Houston