Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that it will be extending the area open to commercial rock crab fishing from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line to near the Mendocino/Humboldt County line at 40° 00.00 ‘ N. Lat. This will open all commercial rock crab fishing from 40° 00.00 ‘ N. Lat. south to the California/Mexico border.
On Nov. 8, 2016, upon the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted to the Office of Administrative Law an emergency rulemaking to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County. Since that time, new authority established in the Fish and Game Code, section 5523, allowed the Director to open portions of the fishery upon the recommendation from the Director of OEHHA. The fishery was last modified in March 2018, when it was opened between Salt Point, Sonoma County and the Sonoma/Mendocino County line. State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level of 30 parts per million in the viscera. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught north of the Mendocino/Humboldt County line to the California/Oregon border.
Closure of the commercial rock crab fishery north of 40° 00.00 ‘ N. Lat. near the Mendocino/Humboldt County line to the California/Oregon border shall remain in effect until the Director of OEHHA, in consultation with the Director of CDPH, determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be opened. CDFW will continue to coordinate with fishermen, CDPH, and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closure area of the coast. Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and can in some cases be fatal.
For more information:
CDFW Declaration (4/20/2018)