Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday informed U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker via a letter that the state of California was requesting federal declarations of a fishery disaster and commercial fishery failure in response to the continued presence of unsafe levels of domoic acid in Dungeness and rock crab across the state.

The governor’s request Tuesday initiates an evaluation of a federal fishery resource disaster under the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986 and a commercial fishery failure under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.

By declaring a federal disaster, affected fisheries would be able to receive economic assistance for losses incurred.

Typically a $90 million industry for the state annually, Brown estimated in his letter that the continued closures would cost $48 million in losses for Dungeness crab, and $376,000 for rock crab, based on estimated values of both species during the time period of November 2015 through June 2016.

Because the crabbing season is likely to remain delayed or closed for the remainder of the 2015-16 season, Brown predicts these estimates to only increase.

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