Tag Archives: crab season

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.

California Dungeness Crab Season to Open

Media Contacts:
Pete Kalvass, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-9080
Carrie Wilson, DFG Communications, (831) 649-7191

Dungeness crab on gray background
Dungeness crab. DFG photo

The highly anticipated annual Dungeness crab sport fishery opens statewide this Saturday, Nov. 3. Every year at this time, recreational crab fishing enthusiasts set out in pursuit of these tasty crustaceans. Some set hoop nets and crab traps from boats and piers while others fish crab loop traps on the end of a fishing rod. Still others will dive in to take the crabs by hand.

“Crab populations appear to be strong coming off another record-setting year in the commercial fishery,” said Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Senior Environmental Scientist Pete Kalvass, who oversees the Invertebrate Management Project. “However, crab in northern California above Cape Mendocino may be somewhat underweight for the first few weeks of the season due to a late molt.”

The most popular methods for catching the tasty crustacean are with crab pots (or traps), loop traps and hoop nets. There is no limit to the number of pots or nets that can be fished recreationally, except when fishing from a public fishing pier where only two fishing appliances may be used. Recreational crabbers may keep up to 10 Dungeness crabs per day, or six crabs if fishing from a party boat south of Mendocino County. No one may possess more than one daily bag limit, and no Dungeness crab may be taken from San Francisco or San Pablo bays, which are important crab nursery areas.

DFG reminds sport crabbers that traps and nets for Dungeness crab may not be set before 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 3. For those fishing with hoop nets, remember that regulations require raising the nets to the surface to inspect the contents at least every two hours. Any undersized crabs or other species that are accidentally caught can be more quickly released. This regulation ensures that fishermen closely monitor their gear and do not allow any equipment to be abandoned in state waters. Trap fishermen should also closely monitor their traps because lost trap gear can continue to fish and become a self-baiting crab killer.

The recreational size limit for Dungeness crab is five and three-quarter inches measured across the shell, directly in front of and excluding the lateral spines. Crab taken from party boats south of Mendocino County must measure at least six inches across. For a measurement diagram, see the DFG website at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=36325.

Dungeness crabs generally prefer cooler northern and central California waters and are uncommon south of Point Conception. They are usually found on sandy or sand-mud bottoms at depths of less than 300 feet, although they can be found in almost any sea floor habitat, and have been documented down to 750 feet.

For more information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations and other crab species, please visit the DFG Marine Region website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/crabs.asp.