Calif. Dungeness crab season postponed

Taking an extraordinary step Friday to protect the public from a dangerous toxin, the California Fish and Wildlife Department shuttered the state’s cherished commercial Dungeness crab industry, delivering a cruel punch to the Bay Area’s hard-luck fishermen.

“Crab is an important part of California’s culture and economy, and I did not make this decision lightly,” Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham said in a statement. “But doing everything we can to limit the risk to public health has to take precedence.”

The decision postpones the Nov. 15 opening of the season indefinitely — until tests by state health officials determine that the crustaceans are once again safe to eat. The crabs are tainted by domoic acid, a compound caused by harmful algae blooms that spread along the Pacific Coast this year because of unusually warm ocean temperatures.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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