Saturday could mark start of crab season

Local crabbers have started to reload their boats with crab traps, hoping that test results expected by the end of the week will show that wildlife caught in the Bay and the nearby ocean is safe for humans after toxic shipping fuel spilled into the water earlier this month from a container ship.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an order suspending all fishing and crabbing for human consumption in the areas affected by the spill; that ban is due to expire Saturday.

Additionally, almost all local crabbers have chosen to stay off the water in the wake of the Cosco Busan crash, which spilt 58,000 gallons of shipping fuel into the Bay, until the crabs are ruled safe, according to Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

Dungeness crabs, rock crabs, herring, surf perch and mussels were caught inside and outside the Bay before Thanksgiving and sent to labs, according to California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment spokesman Sam Delson.

Raw data from the tests is expected back from the laboratories today, and Delson said he hopes it will be analyzed by the weekend.

“Normally, it would take several months to fully analyze this data,” Delson said, “but because of the urgency of the situation, we’re going to do our best to complete our evaluationin about 36 hours.”

Delson said work has already been completed to determine existing contamination levels in marine life, and to determine safe human consumption levels of contaminants.

Time will also be shaved off the analysis stage by skipping normal review stages in the scientific peer review process, Delson said.

The wildlife will be tested, according to Delson, mainly for aromatic hydrocarbons, a group of cancer-causing toxins found in shipping fuel.

Additional samples of Dungeness crabs are also being tested for taste and smell, to make sure they’re OK for crab crunching consumers, according to Delson.

Annette Traverso of Alioto-Lazio Fish Company said few people are buying crabs because of safety fears, even though crabs don’t come from the Bay. “The crabs aren’t moving,” she said Tuesday.

jupton@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

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

The Medical Examiner's Office van on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco’s 2020 overdose deaths soar 59 percent to 699

Fatal drug overdoses surged by nearly 59 percent in San Francisco last… Continue reading

Police Commissioner John Hamasaki questions Chief Bill Scott at City Hall on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD should probe whether officers joined Capitol raid, commissioners say

Chief unaware of any members participating in insurrection

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read