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:

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit:

Public Comment Sought on Proposed Changes to Dungeness Crab Trap Limit Regulations

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, Environmental Scientist, (707) 576-2887

Peter Kalvass, Senior Environmental Scientist, (707) 964-9080

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is opening a public comment period for changes to regulations regarding the Dungeness Crab trap limit program.68834_402547339824739_1534255608_n[1]

The changes reduce fees associated with the appeal process as required by recent legislation and eliminate processing fees for buoy tag replacement affidavits.

Website access to all information regarding all Notices of the Dungeness Crab Trap Program can be found at:

Materials regarding this proposal can be found at:

Any interested person, or his or her authorized representative, may submit written comments relevant to the proposed regulatory action to CDFW. All written comments must be received by CDFW at the following office no later than 5 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2013. All written comments must include the true name and mailing address of the commenter.

Written comments may be submitted by mail, fax, or e-mail, to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Marine Region
Christy Juhasz, Environmental Scientist
5355 Skylane Blvd., Ste. B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Fax: (707) 576-7132

Comments received by the due date will be considered before the regulations are adopted.

Questions about the regulations should be directed to Christy Juhasz, Environmental Scientist at (707) 576-2887 or

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed off North Coast

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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