The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season in Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties is being delayed, according to the Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Charlton Bonham. The reason, poor crab meat quality test results, which show the crab are not filled out enough prior to harvest. The delay is expected to last a minimum of 15 days until December 16, 2017.
According to Fish and Wildlife, a second round of testing is expected to occur on December 7, 2017 to determine if the fishery can open on December 16, 2017 or, will need to be further delayed.
If the crab quality tests remain low, Bonham has the authority to delay the season an additional 15 days. The season cannot be delayed due to crab quality beyond January 15, 2018, as mandated in the Fish and Game Code. Recreational crabbing remains open statewide. There are two areas off 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 Mendocino County northward to the Oregon border.
For online information on Dungeness crab in the state, go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.