Commercial Dungeness Crab Season in Northern Region Further Delayed

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.