Friday, December 7, 2018

Fish and Wildlife Says the Crab Aren't Ready Yet

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 2:16 PM

click to enlarge Another crab season, another delay. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • Another crab season, another delay.
The North Coast’s crab woes continue as local crustaceans just aren’t fattening up enough for the commercial season to begin, prompting the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to issue a second delay in opening day — which is now slated for Dec. 31.

According to a release, results from the Dec. 4 quality test “continue to show that Dungeness crab are not yet ready for harvesting." Another round of meat weighing is slated for Dec. 21, the results of which could either trigger a tossing of the crab pots or another postponement until mid-January.


Read the full CDFW release below:
Based on results of another quality test, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham has announced an additional 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness Crab season. The new opener date is Dec. 31. Results of the Dec. 4 quality test continue to show that Dungeness Crab are not yet ready for harvesting.

Delays due to quality only affect the northern commercial fishery in California Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2018, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2018.

Crab are evaluated to compare meat weight to total crab weight to determine whether they are ready for harvest under testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. If results indicate low or poor quality, the Director may delay the fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties, under authority of Fish and Game Code, section 8276.2.
Additional testing will be scheduled to occur by Dec. 21. If quality results remain low, a final delay announcement issued by the Director would further delay the season until Jan. 15, 2019.

No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) or within an area closed for a domoic acid delay. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses onboard or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in any delayed area for 30 days following the opening of those areas. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon and Washington as well as in California.

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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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