SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Christmas holiday tradition of serving Dungeness crab may be on hold this year as state officials have delayed the start of the commercial fishing season until at least mid-December.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said it was pushing back the original opening date of Dec. 1 to Dec. 16 due to
various factors including whale presence and low-quality crab meat.

In the CDFW’s central management area, from Point Arena to the Mexico border, whales remain in the crab fishing area resulting in a
potential for entanglement. In early December, the department will reassess entanglement risk and whale presence.

In addition to whale presence, meat quality testing in crabs in the CDFW’s northern management area has shown that the crabs will not be
ready to be fished until mid-December.

“Our hope is both quality testing and additional marine life survey data will support a unified statewide opener on Dec. 16, just in time to have crab for the holidays and New Year.” CDFW director Charlton Bonham said.