The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is again delaying the commercial Dungeness crab fishery on a small section of Washington’s southern coast.

The decision was made in coordination with shellfish managers from Oregon and California, where commercial Dungeness fisheries also remain closed.

Although test results in crab from Washington’s southern coast show the crab are safe to eat, results from California and sections of Oregon indicate elevated levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae.

Washington agreed to extend the delay of the southern coast fishery to avoid the chaos that opening such a small area would create, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Typically, Washington, Oregon and California coordinate commercial Dungeness fishery openings to prevent too many crabbers from concentrating in small areas and ensure smoothly run fisheries.

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