California Crab Sampling Effort for Domoic Acid Testing Continues

Dungeness crab

Update – 11/17/2015  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) continues to coordinate with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and fishermen to collect another set of crab samples from all major ports in California to determine whether levels of the neurotoxin domoic acid in crabs is in decline.

Rock crab and Dungeness crab samples were collected last week from both the Morro Bay and Monterey areas, while rock crab were collected from the Santa Barbara coast and the northern Channel Islands. 

Dungeness crab samples were also collected this past weekend out of Half Moon Bay and Bodega Bay, and this week from the northern ports of Crescent City, Eureka, Trinidad, and Fort Bragg. Crab will continue to be sampled from each port area until all crab at that location test below the CDPH Food and Drug Branch alert levels for domoic acid of 30 ppm for two consecutive rounds of sampling.

Domoic acid crab test results are posted on the CDPH website.

crab testing
CDPH staff collects viscera from cooked crabs during sample test preparation.

CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham may consider reopening areas closed to commercial fishing after receiving a recommendation to do so from the Office of Environment Health Hazard Assessment and the CDPH. Authority to reopen the recreational Dungeness crab and rock crab fisheries resides with the Fish and Game Commission, and upon recommendation from state public health agencies, the Commission has prescribed that an area will automatically reopen.

For information about the closed or open status of crab fisheries, the public is encouraged to visit the CDFW website or call the CDFW Dungeness crab and rock crab fishery information hotline at (831) 649-2883. The hotline is updated weekly by 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, or as soon as new information becomes available. For further information please visit the CDFW Invertebrate Management Project website.

Post by Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist ♦ CDFW photo of Dungeness crab by C. Juhasz; photo of crab testing courtesy CDPH

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