Tag Archives: crab season

More of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Open Dec. 3; Some Areas Will Remain Closed

An approximately 50-mile portion of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery between Point Reyes, Marin County and near Salt Point, Sonoma County that has been closed due to elevated domoic acid levels will open on Dec. 3 at the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today. However, the fishery will remain closed north of Salt Point to the Humboldt Bay entrance. The closed portions of the coast may open once testing by state agencies shows that the area is safe with regard to domoic acid levels.

On Dec. 3 at 12:01 a.m., the commercial Dungeness crab season will open from Point Reyes (38° 00’ N. lat.) to near Salt Point (38° 34.5’N. Lat.).  The opener will be preceded by an 18-hour pre-soak period commencing at 6 a.m. on Dec. 2.  The area between Salt Point and the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance south will remain closed until the CDFW Director receives a recommendation from the state health agencies that levels of domoic acid – a naturally occurring toxin – do not pose a public health risk. Last fall and winter, domoic acid along the West Coast interrupted Dungeness and rock crab fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon state line.

At 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 keep the commercial Dungeness crab fishery closed north of Point Reyes (38° 00’ N. lat.) and to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point (37° 11’ N. lat.). 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, or guts. Because of this, on Nov. 8, OEHHA in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommended to CDFW to close or delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season north of Point Reyes and close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point. On November 23, OEHHA, in consultation with CDPH, recommended that CDFW open the commercial fishery from the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance to the California/Oregon state line at its normal opening date of Dec. 1, and is now recommending the commercial fishery be opened from Point Reyes to near Salt Point.

The recreational season for Dungeness crab opened on Nov. 5 and remains open with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the internal organs of Dungeness crab caught between Salt Point and the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance.

Closure of the above-referenced commercial fisheries 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 fisheries be open, and the Director of CDFW provides notification to the commercial fisheries. Recreational fisheries will remain open under a warning to anglers not to eat the guts of crab caught in the affected areas.

CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened. CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that select crabs from the closed areas had elevated levels of domoic acid in their viscera. 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:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (12/1/2016)

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

www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Crabs#315201115-links-to-the-latest-information

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Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

More of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Open; Some Areas Will Remain Closed

A roughly 120-mile portion of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in northern California that was scheduled to open Dec. 1 will remain closed at the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today. But the fishery will open Dec. 1 north of Humboldt Bay to the Oregon state line and remains open from Point Reyes southward. The closed portions of the coast may open once testing by state agencies shows that the area is safe with regard to domoic acid levels.

On Dec. 1, commercial Dungeness crab season will open as scheduled from the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance (40° 46.15’ N. lat.) north to the Oregon/California state line (District 6).  The opener will be preceded by a 64 hour pre-soak period commencing at 8 a.m. on Nov. 28.  The area between the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance south to Point Reyes (38° 00’ N. lat.) in Marin County will remain closed until the CDFW Director receives a recommendation from the state health agencies that levels of domoic acid – a naturally occurring toxin – do not pose a public health risk. Last fall and winter, domoic acid along the West Coast interrupted Dungeness and rock crab fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon state line.

Under an emergency rulemaking, the area between Point Reyes and the Mendocino/Sonoma county line has been closed since Nov. 15 and remains closed due to elevated domoic acid levels, which can sicken people who consume crab.

At 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 keep the commercial Dungeness crab fishery closed north of Point Reyes (38° 00’ N. lat.) and to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point (37° 11’ N. lat.). 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. Because of this, on Nov. 8, OEHHA in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommended to CDFW to close or delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season north of Point Reyes and close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point.

The recreational season for Dungeness crab opened on Nov. 5 and remains open with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of Dungeness crab caught north of Point Reyes.

Closure of the above-referenced commercial fisheries 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 fisheries be open, and the Director of CDFW provides notification to the commercial fisheries. Recreational fisheries will remain open under a warning to anglers not to eat the viscera of crab caught in the affected areas.

CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened. CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that select crabs from the closed areas had elevated levels of domoic acid in their viscera. 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.

The states of Washington and Oregon have acted to delay their respective 2016 Dungeness crab seasons. For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (11/23/2016)

www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Crabs#315201115-links-to-the-latest-information

www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2016/index.asp

www.wdfw.wa.gov/news/nov2216b/

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Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

CDFW Announces Latest Dungeness and Rock Crab Openings, Closures

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude at Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (approximately 9 miles north of Santa Cruz Harbor entrance) to the California/Mexico border. The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is now open south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude at the northern jetty of Humboldt Bay, Humboldt County to the California/Mexico border, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay.

Recent test results show that domoic acid levels in rock crab in Monterey and Dungeness crabs south of Humboldt Bay entrance and in Mendocino County no longer pose a significant human health risk, according to notice given today to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) by the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

A closure for the recreational rock crab fishery remains in place north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below) while a closure for the recreational Dungeness crab fishery remains in place north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude to the California/Oregon border.

The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude to the California/Oregon border and in the Channel Islands exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below). The commercial Dungeness crab fishery remains closed north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line.

The recreational Dungeness crab season in Humboldt and Mendocino counties is scheduled to end July 30 under regular open season regulations in the newly opened area while in counties south of Mendocino County, the recreational season closes on June 30.

Despite several weeks of test results that showed samples below alert levels, 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.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Commission and CDFW on November 5 and 6, 2015, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

 

Areas open to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, at the Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County, including ocean waters of Humboldt Bay

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery open along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are open along the mainland coast south of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude 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 of the Channel Islands except for an exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands (see coordinates below)

 

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

Recreational Dungeness crab fishery north of 40° 46.15’ N Latitude, near Humboldt Bay entrance, Humboldt County to the California/Oregon border

Commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude

Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of 36° 58.72′ N Latitude and in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

(1) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.;

(2) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(3) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 119° 50.00’ W Long.;

(4) 33° 53.00’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.; and

(5) 34° 7.75’ N Lat. 120° 0.00’ W Long.

 

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

OEHHA Rock Crab Memo 4/22/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122565&inline

OEHHA Dungeness Crad Memo 4/22/2016: http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=122566&inline

 

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Recreational and Commercial Rock Crab Fishery Opens in Channel Islands, Excluding State Waters Between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands

State health officials determined today that rock crab species caught in state waters near the Channel Islands no longer contain high levels of domoic acid, and no longer pose a significant risk to human health. Acting upon a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission has opened the recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in this area.

However, a closure still remains in effect in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

  • 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.;
  • 34° 7.75’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
  • 33° 53.00’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
  • 33° 53.00’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.; and
  • 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.

Closures remain in effect for all rock crab in areas north of Piedras Blancas Light Station in San Luis Obispo County (35° 40′ N latitude), and for Dungeness crab in state waters north of the Sonoma/Mendocino County Line (38° 46.1′ N latitude). Tests on crabs in those areas continued to show elevated levels of domoic acid.

Pursuant to emergency regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission, the recreational rock crab fishery is now open in state waters near the Channel Islands except for within the above listed exclusion area. The commercial rock crab fishery is also open effective immediately within the same areas open for the recreational crab fishery.

Despite several weeks of samples below alert levels, 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.

Elevated domoic acid levels forced a closure of the rock crab fishery but also a delay in the opening of the more economically valuable Dungeness crab fishery.  With recent test results showing that domoic acid levels south of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line no longer pose a significant human health risk, both the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries opened earlier this month.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission and CDFW on Nov.  5 and 6, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

Areas open to crab fishing include:

  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries along the mainland coast south of 35° 40′ N latitude (Piedras Blancas Light Station, San Luis Obispo County)
  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in state waters near the Channel Islands outside of the exclusion area between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands
  • Recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino County line at 38° 46.1’ N latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries north of 35° 40′ N latitude (Piedras Blancas Light Station, San Luis Obispo County)
  • Recreational and commercial rock crab fisheries in state waters between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands within an exclusion area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

(1) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.;
(2) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
(3) 33° 53.00’ N lat. 119° 50.00’ W long.;
(4) 33° 53.00’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.; and
(5) 34° 7.75’ N lat. 120° 0.00’ W long.

  • Recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino County line at 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County

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

Rock Crab Fishery Closure Map

OEHHA Memo 3/28/2016

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Open South of Sonoma/Mendocino County Line, Commercial Fishery to Open in Seven Days

Closure of the recreational Dungeness crab fishery south of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line has been lifted, and opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery – delayed since November – is set for March 26 in the same region.

Recent test results show that domoic acid levels in crabs off the California coast south of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line no longer pose a significant human health risk, according to notice given today to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) by the director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), after consultation with  the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

As a result, the director of OEHHA recommends opening the Dungeness crab fishery in this area. Under emergency closure regulations, CDFW will provide commercial Dungeness crab fishermen at least seven days’ notice before the re-opening of the commercial fishery south of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line, and so that fishery will open at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 26. The presoak period, during which commercial fishermen may begin getting gear in place, starts at 6:01 a.m. Friday, March 25.

Closures remain in place north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line for the Dungeness crab commercial and recreational fisheries. The commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries are closed north of Piedras Blancas Light Station near San Simeon, and in state waters around San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands.

The unusually high domoic acid levels off the coast this fall and winter wrecked a Dungeness crab fishery worth as much as $90 million a year to California’s economy. Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. 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 may be fatal.

“This has been a very difficult season for hardworking Californians who have suffered significant financial hardship due to this natural disaster,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of CDFW. “We thank the affected communities for their patience and fortitude as we have worked with our partners at CDPH and OEHHA to open a portion of the commercial fishery along a traditional management boundary as recommended by the industry.”

Both the commercial and recreational Dungeness crab seasons are scheduled to end June 30 in the newly opened area, although the CDFW director has authority to extend the commercial season.

In February, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker seeking federal declarations of a fishery disaster and a commercial fishery failure in response to the continued presence of unsafe levels of domoic acid and the corresponding closures of rock crab and Dungeness crab fisheries across California. Should a federal determination be made to declare a disaster and failure, the state and federal agencies will work together to determine the full economic impact of the disaster and, upon appropriation of funds from Congress, provide economic relief to affected crabbers and related businesses.

Despite several weeks of test results that showed crab body meat samples below alert levels, one sample of viscera was slightly above the alert level. Because of this, CDPH and OEHHA strongly 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 is being recommended to avoid harm in the event that some crabs taken from an open fishery have elevated levels of domoic acid.

With the partial opening of the commercial fishery in the state, CDFW recommends that all people fishing for crab refer to the Best Practices Guide, a resource providing tips on how to use crab trap gear in a manner that reduces incidences of whale entanglements. This guide was produced collaboratively between commercial crabbers, agency staff and staff from non-profit organizations during two meetings of the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group that took place late last year.

Pursuant to the emergency regulations adopted by the Commission and CDFW on November 5 and 6, 2015, respectively, the current open and closed areas are as follows:

Areas open to crab fishing include:

  • Recreational Dungeness crab fishery along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County
  • On March 26, 2016 Commercial Dungeness crab fishery along mainland coast south of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County
  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fishery along the mainland coast south of 35° 40′ N Latitude (Piedras Blancas Light Station, San Luis Obispo County)

Areas closed to crab fishing include:

  • Recreational Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County
  • Commercial Dungeness crab fishery north of Sonoma/Mendocino county line – 38° 46.1’ N Latitude, near Gualala, Mendocino County
  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries north of 35° 40′ N Latitude (Piedras Blancas Light Station)
  • Commercial and recreational rock crab fisheries in state waters around San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands.

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

OEHHA Memo 3/18/2016

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937