State officials opened the central coast of California to recreational Dungeness crab season on Thursday and commercial season could open as soon as late next week, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

Crab fishing throughout California has been delayed since November because high levels of domoic acid, a potent neurotoxin, was found in the crabs. Domoic acid is caused by algae blooms and can accumulate in shellfish.

Crab fishing remained unsafe throughout most of the state until Thursday, when the California Department of Public Health declared all areas south of Point Reyes safe for recreational Dungeness crab fishing, but crab fishing remains prohibited in northern areas.

Some state fishermen have said they want to wait until the whole state tests clean before commercial season opens. The California Dungeness Crab Task Force may make a decision on whether to open commercial crab fishing on Tuesday during a conference call to discuss the matter.

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