Crab fishermen were busy scraping last year’s crust of debris from marker buoys, replacing ID tags on old crab pots and getting new pots ready last week in preparation for the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season, despite uncertainty over when it will begin.

“We have to get ready as if nothing’s changed,” said fisherman Will Collins. “And just stand by until it’s ready to go.”

The California Fish and Game Commission recently voted to delay the openings of the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries. The delays are in response to dangerous amounts of domoic acid in crabs. Domoic acid, a neurotoxin, is produced by certain species of marine algae. In humans, it can cause nausea and diarrhea at low levels and seizures or even death at higher doses. The recreational fishery was originally scheduled to begin Nov. 7, and the commercial fishery on Sunday.

“I don’t see it opening till the first of the year,” said Stan Bruno, commercial fisherman and captain of The Grinder, based in Santa Cruz. “The levels are that high.”

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