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Commercial and Recreational Rock Crab Fisheries Now Open at Pigeon Point, San Mateo County

Following the lifting of a health advisory in the same area, the commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are now open from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County south to the U.S. – Mexico border. The commercial and recreational seasons for rock crab are open all year.

The open area along the mainland coast for rock crab fishery has been extended northward to include Pigeon Point, San Mateo County (37° 11′ N lat.). This follows the lifting of the health advisory today by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and a recommendation from the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of CDPH, to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to lift the closure. The recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries are now open in ocean waters between 37° 11′ N lat. (Pigeon Point, San Mateo County) to the U.S – Mexico border. A closure remains in effect north of this point.

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 north of this location.

Areas open to crab fishing include:

  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 37° 11′ N lat. at Pigeon Point, San Mateo County and in state waters off the Channel Islands.
  • Recreational Dungeness crab fishery is open north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The recreational season is scheduled to close north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line on July 30.
  • Commercial Dungeness crab fishery is open north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line and is scheduled to close on July 15.

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 37° 11′ N lat. at Pigeon Point, San Mateo County.
  • Commercial and recreational Dungeness crab fisheries are closed south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The  season closed on June 30 in this area.

OEHHA Memo