Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner file photo

Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner file photo

Coastal closure announced ahead of commercial crab season start

A portion of the state’s coast will be closed for commercial Dungeness crab fishing due to high levels of domoic acid found in the area, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials announced Tuesday, a week before the commercial Dungeness crab season is set to begin.

With the commercial Dungeness crab season starting on Nov. 15, the CDFW has decided to close the coast between Point Reyes in Marin County and the Sonoma/Mendocino county line for the fishery.

CDFW officials have also closed the commercial rock crab fishery for the coast north of Pigeon Point in San Mateo County.

The closure announcement comes after crabs recently collected in the mentioned areas were tested and showed elevated levels of domoic acid, according to CDFW officials.

High levels of the neurotoxin were blamed for crab fishery closures from Santa Barbara to the Oregon state line last year, which lasted through March and caused millions of dollars in lost revenue for fishermen.

An algal bloom off of the Pacific Coast promotes the high levels of the neurotoxin, which accumulate in the crabmeat, making it unsafe for human consumption.

“Given the very difficult season endured by commercial crabbers and their families last year, we were hopeful to open all areas on time this year,” CDFW Director Charlton Bonham said in a statement. “Fortunately domoic acid levels are much lower than this time last year and despite this action we are optimistic we will still be able to have a good season.”

The closures of the mentioned areas will remain in effect until the California Department of Public Health and the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant threat. The CDFW will continue to test domoic acid levels in crabs to determine when the fisheries can be opened safely, according to CDFW officials.

While the neurotoxin is creating a holdup in the commercial Dungeness crab season, the recreational Dungeness crab season opened Saturday with no closures in effect.

The recreational season’s opening however came with a warning from the CDPH, advising recreational crab consumers not to eat the viscera of the Dungeness crab caught north of Point Reyes. The crab’s viscera, or internal organs also known as butter or guts, may contain much higher levels of domoic acid than the crab’s body, CDFW officials said.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard began their annual safety checks ahead of the upcoming season, checking crab vessels for required lifesaving equipment, pot-loading practices affecting stability and vessel watertight integrity, according to Coast Guard officials.

The checks, which will go through Thursday, are made in an attempt to reduce casualties connected to crab-fishing. Vessels found with serious safety discrepancies can be restricted from operating, Coast Guard officials said.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Private vehicles were banned from much of Market Street in January 2020, causing bike ridership on the street to increase by 25 percent and transit efficiency by as much as 12 percent. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board approves new Better Market Street legislation

Advocates say traffic safety improvements don’t go far enough to make up for lost bikeway

San Francisco City Hall is lit in gold and amber to remember victims as part of a national Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19 on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco joins national COVID memorial ceremony

San Francisco took part Tuesday in the first national Memorial to Lives… Continue reading

The San Francisco Police Department has cancelled discretionary days off and will have extra officers on duty for Inauguration Day, Chief Bill Scott said Tuesday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF ‘prepared for anything’ ahead of inauguration, but no protests expected

Authorities boosting police staffing, security at City Hall

Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the SF Department of Public Health, said Tuesday that The City had received only a fraction of the COVID vaccine doses it requested this week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Unpredictable supplies leave SF running low on COVID vaccine

Reported reactions to Moderna shots prompt hold on 8,000 doses

The T Third Street train will resume service on Saturday, and will be joined by a new express route from the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Bayview-Hunters Point residents get first direct express bus to downtown

New Muni route to launch alongside the return of the T-Third train

Most Read