Tuesday, December 10, 2019

No Local Crab Before the New Year

Posted By on Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 4:52 PM

click to enlarge Another crab season, another delay. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • Another crab season, another delay.
The commercial Dungeness crab season off of Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties has been delayed again at least until Dec. 31 due quality tests that “continue to show crab are below the minimum testing guidelines.”

According to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife release, another round of testing will take place around Dec. 20 to determine whether the New Year’s Eve opening is a go or another delay until Jan. 15 is in order.

“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),” the release states. “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 the delayed area for 30 days following the opening of that area.”

In other news, CDFW reports a warning on sports caught crab in the Shelter Cove to Point Arena zone was lifted after new tests show the level of domoic acid at low to undetectable levels in the area.

“Although there are currently no areas under an active health advisory for Dungeness crab in the state, CDPH recommends consumers follow best practices to avoid any inadvertent exposure to domoic acid that might be sporadically found in the crab viscera,” the release states.

The Sonoma County and south commercial fishery, which had been delayed due to concerns about marine life entanglements, will open Dec. 15.

Read the CDFW update below:


Domoic Acid Update

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) lifted a health advisory for recreational Dungeness crabs caught near Shelter Cove, Humboldt County (40° 01′ N. Latitude) to Point Arena (38° 57.5′ N. Latitude). CDPH lifted this advisory today due to recent tests showing that the amount of domoic acid has declined to low or undetectable levels in Dungeness crabs caught in the area, indicating that they are safe to consume. Although there are currently no areas under an active health advisory for Dungeness crab in the state, CDPH recommends consumers follow best practices to avoid any inadvertent exposure to domoic acid that might be sporadically found in the crab viscera.

Northern Management Area (Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9)

Director Bonham has also announced an additional 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. The new opener is Dec. 31, 2019. Results of the Dec. 3 quality test continue to show crab are below the minimum testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee and are not yet ready for harvesting.

Delays due to quality affect the entire northern commercial fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties (California Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2019.

Additional testing will be scheduled to occur by Dec. 20 to determine whether the season can open on Dec. 31 or will be delayed once more until Jan. 15, 2020.

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). 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 the delayed area for 30 days following the opening of that area.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2019-2020 Dungeness crab commercial season and www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Whale-Safe-Fisheries.

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit: www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

Test results can be viewed on the CDPH Domoic Acid webpage. Please visit CDPH's Domoic Acid FAQ webpage for more information. For the most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133.
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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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