After several delays, the commercial Dungeness crab season will finally open. A gear setting period will precede it beginning on January 12, 2018.
The reasons for the delayed season of commercial Dungeness crab fishing were health concerns. Domoic acid levels in crab meat were high because of the high water temperatures during 2017. Domoic acid is a toxin that affects the nervous system of mammals and humans. It can lead to death in extreme cases.
Domoic acid is associated with the so-called ‘algae bloom’ that results from very warm ocean waters. Water temperatures along the west coast of the United States were very high during much of 2018. If 2018 turned out to be yet another year of extremely high sustained air and water temperatures, we can expect more fishing closures in 2018 because of high levels of domoic acid in seafood.
Commercial Dungeness crab fishing vessels that landed crabs from the fishing areas 6, 7, 8, and 9 prior to the opening of the commercial crab season, is subject to a waiting period of 30 days after opening day. The waiting period for these vessels will end on February 14, 2018.
For all questions regarding commercial Dungeness crab fishing go to latest CDFW Frequently Asked Questions for the current 2017-18 season concerning how the 30-day wait period also applies to Oregon and Washington’s delayed season openers.
Recreational Dungeness crab fishing is not affected by the closures and the late season opener. Delayed opening dates for Dungeness crab fishing are not unusual because of the fluctuating levels of domoic acid in the meat of seafood.
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