Commercial crab season will open next week in Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte Counties. T
he season was recently delayed after the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that tests revealed poor meat quality. CDFW director Charlton H. Bonham had previously delayed the season a total of three times after crab quality tests results in both November and December indicated the crabs were not ready for harvesting.
According to the CDFW, the new season is set to open at 12:01 a.m. on January 15, 2018. The opener will be preceded by a 64 hour gear setting period which begins at 8:01 a.m. on January 12, 2018.
CDFW Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz said in a press release that another delay in the northern portion of the fishery, due to quality, is not unprecedented. She also said the last time the northern season opener was delayed for similar reasons was in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. In both those cases, the seasons also began on January 15.
The CDFW also stated that two areas in Northern California were under a health advisory issued by the California Department of Public Health because of domoic acid which was detected during the start of the recreational fishery season in November. The health advisory was lifted in December by the CDPH after continuous sampling of Dungeness crabs showed the amount of domoic acid had declined to low or undetectable levels and recreational crabbing remains open throughout the entire state.
More information on Dungeness crab is available on the CDFW's website: wildlife.ca.gov.