Category Archives: domoic acid

Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Opens from Cape Mendocino to Humboldt Bay

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that it will be opening the commercial rock crab fishery from near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County (40° 30.00’ N. Lat.) north to the Humboldt Bay entrance at the north jetty (40° 46.15’ N. latitude), including all ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

On Nov. 8, 2016, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted an emergency rulemaking to the Office of Administrative Law to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County upon the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Since that time, portions of the fishery were sequentially reopened by the director in consultation with OEHHA under new authority granted by Fish and Game Code Section 5523. The commercial fishery was last modified in April 2018, when the fishery was opened between the Sonoma/Mendocino County line and the Mendocino/Humboldt County line.

The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed in all waters from the Mendocino/Humboldt County line (40° 00.00’ N. Lat.) to 40° 30.00’ N. Lat. (near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County) and from the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance (40° 46.15’ N. Lat.) to the California/Oregon border (42° 00.00’ N. Lat.). This closure shall remain in effect until the director of OEHHA, in consultation with the director of California Department of Public Health (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 closured area.

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 CDPH to avoid consuming the viscera of crab caught between the Mendocino/Humboldt County line and Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County and from the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance to the California/Oregon border.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and 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 death.

For More Information:
Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (5/23/2019)
CDFW Director’s Opener Declaration (5/23/2019)
www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories
www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

 

Northern Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Further Delayed in Ocean Waters North of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County due to Public Health Hazard

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County north to the California/Oregon state line after state health agencies recommended to delay the fishery in the area due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in the area south of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line will open at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12.

This delay shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends opening the fishery in this region. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the commercial fishery in this area can safely be opened.

No vessel may take, possess or land crab within a delayed area during the closure period. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses on board or lands Dungeness crab from ocean waters outside of this delayed area is prohibited from taking, possessing onboard or landing Dungeness crab for 30 days in this area once it opens to commercial fishing pursuant to Section 8279.1 of the Fish and Game Code.

Once a positive determination is made to open the fishery, CDFW may provide the fleet a minimum of 72-hour advance notice announcing when trap gear can be set.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2018-19 Dungeness crab commercial season.

This area north of Patrick’s Point remains closed for recreational take of Dungeness crab, also due to domoic acid.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and 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 death.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (1/7/2019)

CDFW Director’s Closure Declaration (1/7/2019)

2018-19 Frequently Asked Questions for the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery (12/3/2018)

www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delay Extended

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham announced an additional and final 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. Pending possible closures due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the season is now set to begin on Jan. 15, 2019.

Quality tests as prescribed by the Pre-Season Testing Protocol for the Tri-State Coastal Dungeness Commercial Fishery were scheduled to occur this week, but rough ocean conditions prevented vessels from safely deploying and retrieving traps. This protocol requires that tested crab achieve a meat recovery rate to ensure that crab are ready for harvest. Previous quality test results from Dungeness crab collected on Nov. 3 and Dec. 4 indicated that crab did not have enough meat. Without any passing test results from these areas, the Director continued to delay the season to Jan. 15, the final date a quality delay can be set to occur.

Delays due to quality only affect the northern commercial fishery in California Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2019.  Two areas in northern California continue to be sampled for domoic acid and it is unknown whether any further delays may occur based continued domoic acid testing.

Crab are evaluated to compare meat weight to total crab weight to determine whether they are ready for harvest under testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. If results indicate low or poor quality, the Director may delay the fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties, under authority of Fish and Game Code, section 8276.2.

No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) or within an area closed for a domoic acid delay. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses onboard or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in any delayed area for 30 days following the opening of those areas. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon and Washington as well as in California.

Please refer to the latest Frequently Asked Questions for the current 2018-19 season that addresses questions regarding the Fair Start provision.

For more information about Dungeness crab fisheries in California, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Open in Sonoma County

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration to open the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Bodega Head, Sonoma County north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line.

The area from the southern boundary of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County (38° 18’ N. latitude) north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125’ N. latitude) was closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Public health agencies have determined that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health in this area.

Under recent amendments to Section 5523 of the Fish and Game Code, the CDFW Director may provide a minimum of 72-hours’ notice before a gear setting period. Therefore, the Director has declared the fishery to open at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 to be preceded by an 18-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 6:01 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

No vessel may take crab within a delayed area during the closure period. In addition, any vessel that has landed crab from ocean waters outside of this delayed area is prohibited from taking, possessing onboard, or landing Dungeness crab in this area until Jan. 7, 2019 pursuant to Section 8279.1 of the Fish and Game Code.

The northern California commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties) remains closed until 12:01 a.m. December 16, 2018 due to poor crab meat quality tests. If the next round of test results indicate good quality, the fishery will open and be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period.

For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2018-19 Dungeness crab commercial season.

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (12/03/18)

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

More information on Dungeness crab, please visit: www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed in Northern California

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a memo today delaying the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season due to poor crab meat quality test results. The delay includes Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties).

The northern Dungeness crab fishery is delayed until 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec.16, 2018 pending another round of test results tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1. If these results indicate good quality, the fishery will open and be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.

“Last season, the northern Dungeness crab fishery was delayed until Jan. 15, the latest a quality delay can be extended,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz. “Results from our recent test are very similar to last year indicating that this delay may be extended past Dec. 16.”

If the next round of quality tests remain low, the CDFW Director has the authority to delay the season an additional 15 days until Dec. 31. Under new legislation, CDFW can continue testing until Jan. 15.

Crab are evaluated to compare meat weight to total crab weight to determine whether they are ready for harvest under testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. If results indicate poor crab quality, the CDFW director may delay the fishery under authority of Fish and Game Code Section 8276.2.

The southern Dungeness crab fishery opened on Nov. 15, except for the area from the southern boundary of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County (38° 18’ N. latitude) north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125’ N. latitude) which was delayed due to domoic acid. Upon a recommendation from health agencies that domoic acid no longer poses a risk to public health, the CDFW director may provide a minimum 72-hours’ notice before the gear-setting period and avoid a gear set date that lands on state and federal holidays.

No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) or within an area closed for a domoic acid delay. In addition, any vessel that takes, possess onboard, or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in a delayed area for 30 days following the opening of those areas. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon, Washington and California.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2018-19 Dungeness crab commercial season.

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit:
www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937