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Sat Mar 21, 2020, 10:23 PM

Fishermen return home to shuttered California, nowhere to sell their catch


The coronavirus literally traveled over them from Asia to California while they were on the high seas catching tuna.

When Haworth left a month ago to fish about 600 miles (970 kilometers) from the coast, the coronavirus was still concentrated primarily in China. The general feeling, he said, was that it was coming under control. President Donald Trump was telling the nation the numbers were only going to get better.


As his crew motored farther out to sea, a pandemic was declared, though Haworth didn't know it because his radio was broken.

It wasn't until they were returning weeks later and were within 50 miles (80 kilometers), or about five hours away, that they picked up a signal for their TV to work and learned from the news of the worldwide closures, including in California and the Philippines, where many of his crew members have family.

California on Friday confined its 40 million residents to home in the strictest response yet.

“The second we saw the news, I knew we were screwed," Haworth said as he drove a boat filled with thousands of pounds of fish toward home. “We were all like, ‘What the hell is going on?’"

The wholesale buyers who agreed to buy the fish reneged, he said.

Haworth was grateful people were lining up — keeping a safe distance apart, of course. The fishermen were also offering home deliveries.

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