131213-CDFW-AJH-0214

Commercial and Recreational Rock Crab Fisheries Open near Channel Islands

State waters around the Channel Islands are now open to both the recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries. Today, the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) that they recommend lifting the remaining closure within the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands. The recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries are also open from 36 58.72 N lat. at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor entrance) to the California/Mexico border. A closure remains in effect north of this location.

As a precaution, CDPH and OEHHA recommend that anglers and consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. CDPH and OEHHA are also recommending that water or broth used to cook whole crabs be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid. This precaution is being recommended to avoid harm in the unlikely event that some crabs taken from an open fishery have elevated levels of domoic acid.

CDFW will continue to closely coordinate with CDPH, OEHHA and fisheries representatives to monitor domoic acid levels in rock crabs to determine when the fishery can safely be opened statewide.

Areas open to crab fishing include:

  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36 58.72 N Lat. at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor entrance).
  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open in state waters off the Channel Islands.
  • Recreational Dungeness crab fishery is open statewide.  South of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line the recreational season is scheduled to close on June 30 and north of this line the recreational season is scheduled to close on July 30.
  • Commercial Dungeness crab fishery is open statewide. South of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line the commercial season is scheduled to close on June 30 and north of this line the commercial season is scheduled to close on July 15.

Areas closed to rock crab fishing include:

  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 36 58.72 N lat.

OEHHA Memo

Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications, (916) 651-7824