Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opens Dec. 1 in Northern California

Dungeness crab on gray background

Dungeness crab. CDFW photo

Media Contacts:

Tom Barnes, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 467-4233
Pete Kalvass, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-9080
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

The Northern California Dungeness crab season will open on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 north of the Mendocino County line. The Director has established a 64-hour gear setting period for the season when crab trap gear can be set no earlier than 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28. Quality tests conducted in the Northern California region in October and November indicate that California Dungeness crabs are ready for harvest. Despite incomplete testing data from the Eureka port area, data collected on Nov. 9 from this area indicated a high degree of probability that the crab would be ready for harvest by Dec. 1 and no data suggests low quality or soft-shell conditions. Fish and Game Code Section 8276.2 requires the Director to open the season on Dec. 1 unless the crab are soft-shelled or of low quality. Oregon and Washington Dungeness crab seasons are delayed pending future testing results. In addition, FGC Section 8279.1 prohibits anyone who fishes for crab in California, prior to the delayed openings in Oregon and Washington, from participating in those crab fisheries for 30 days following the opening of the crab fisheries in those states.

For the results from the pre-season quality tests, please visit: www.psmfc.org/crab/

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/management_com.asp#crab

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season in Northern Region Further Delayed

Contact:
Christy Juhasz, DFG Environmental Scientist, (707) 576-2887
Carrie Wilson, DFG Environmental Scientist, (831) 649-7191

Northern California commercial fishing boats will have to wait until the end of December to fish for Dungeness crab. The commercial Dungeness crab fishing season north of Sonoma County is now scheduled to open Dec. 31.

many dungeness crabs in yellow bin

Commercial crab catch. DFG photo

The season had already been delayed from its originally scheduled Dec. 1 opening to Dec. 16 because tests were showing Dungeness crabs off the northern California coast had not sufficiently developed meat.The Dungeness crab season from Sonoma County south does not fall under the same restrictions. That season opened on Nov. 15.

“Another round of pre-season quality tests revealed that crab from Mendocino County and north won’t be ready for harvest by the delayed opening day of Dec. 16. However, crab are projected to meet the quality standard by Dec 31,” said Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz.

“Crabs ready for harvest should ideally contain at least 25 percent of their body weight as meat,” Juhasz added.

Oregon and Washington are also scheduled to open Dungeness crab seasons on Dec. 31 on the basis of mutually conducted crab quality tests.

Regulations allow for delays off California’s northern coast if Dungeness crabs have soft shells or are of poor quality. The delays may not extend past Jan. 15.

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed off North Coast

Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, DFG Environmental Scientist, (707) 576-2887
Carrie Wilson, DFG Environmental Scientist, (831) 649-7191

many dungeness crabs in yellow bin

Commercial crab catch. DFG photo

The commercial Dungeness crab season north of Sonoma County will be delayed at least two weeks to allow crabs more time to grow to ensure they are of suitable quality.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season after tests showed crabs in the area lacked the required body mass. The decision means the scheduled Dec. 1 opening will be pushed back at least two weeks and possibly longer if the crabs need more time to mature.

The central California commercial Dungeness crab season is set to open on schedule Nov. 15.

The North Coast crab fishery is subject to tests to ensure the crabs are not harvested prematurely.

“Tests are routinely performed each year by the commercial fishing industry and market buyers to determine if the crabs are mature enough for harvest,” said DFG Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz.

“Crabs ready for harvest should contain 25 percent of their body weight as meat. In tests performed two weeks ago, crabs from the North Coast contained only 16-18 percent body mass,” Juhasz added.

Additional testing will be done in December, and depending on those results a further delay could be ordered. A similar delay was implemented last year off the North Coast.

“Crabs from the Central Coast do not fall under the same restrictions and so their season will open as normal on Nov. 15. Fresh crab should then be immediately available to consumers, provided the fishermen and the markets can agree on market prices,” Juhasz said.

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