Domoic Acid Delays Dungeness Crab Season For Much Of North Coast

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A 120-mile stretch of the Northern California coastline will not open for the commercial Dungeness crab season next week, putting North Coast crabbers in an economic bind again.

From Point Reyes south, the season is open and the crab is relatively plentiful. But with the neurotoxin domoic acid being found in crabs between Point Reyes and Eureka, that season will not open on December 1st.

It’s bad news for crabber Aaron Newman President of the Humboldt Co. Fishermen’s Marketing Association, who took a pass on the Bay Area season which opened on the 15th.

“I would only make a decision to go down there if I knew the crab quality was good. So I’d go down there and fish for a week and come back home and then fish at home,” Newman told KCBS. “But this year, I decided not to go down there because there was some question about this domoic acid issue. Now it turns out also in Oregon”

Newman said on top of new crabbing restrictions, the weather along the North Coast has been as dangerous as he can recall in many years.

“It’s a scary winter, looks like a very scary winter for me.” Newman said.

Crabbers say they’ll hope domoic acid levels drop soon.

Many are wrestling with where to drop their pots because once they commit to one fishing zone they’re locked out of another for 30 days, according to Newman. It’s not a career for the faint of heart.

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