California

Commercial crab season delayed in three upper Northern California counties. Here’s why

Abel Mata loads crab pots onto the boat Oceanic at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.The commercial Dungeness crab season opened Nov. 15 south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, but has been delayed in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties for at least 15 days.
Abel Mata loads crab pots onto the boat Oceanic at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.The commercial Dungeness crab season opened Nov. 15 south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, but has been delayed in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties for at least 15 days. AP

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties for a minimum of 15 days because of poor crab meat quality.

The testing took place at the beginning of November, the department said in a news release.

“We are trying to schedule a second round of testing to take place before Dec. 7 to determine whether the fishery can open Dec. 16 or will need to be further delayed,” said Christy Juhasz, CDFW environmental scientist, in a statement.

If quality tests remain low, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham has the authority to delay the season an additional 15 days, according to the release. The season cannot be delayed beyond Jan. 15 due to crab quality.

Recreational crabbing remains open statewide. The commercial Dungeness crab season opened at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 15 south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line.

According to the CDFW, there are two areas of the coast in Northern California where the California Department of Public Health advises consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs due to elevated levels of domoic acid. These areas include Laguna Point, Mendocino County northward to Humboldt Bay North Jetty, Humboldt County, and the Klamath River mouth, Humboldt County northward to the Oregon border.

For more general information on Dungeness crab in California, go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

Anthony Sorci: 916-321-1051.

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