Latest Information on California Crab Fishery Closures and Testing for Domoic Acid

Dungeness crab

Update – January 29, 2015  Crab testing was scheduled to occur on a weekly basis beginning Jan. 1, 2016, as domoic acid levels have declined. However, testing for domoic acid in Dungeness crab has been sporadic due to winter weather and storms preventing fishing vessels from going out of their respective ports to collect crab for testing.

Test results from the major California ports of Santa Barbara and Monterey were obtained on a regular basis for rock crab this month. Dungeness crab samples were only collected from the ports of Half Moon Bay and Crescent City in mid-January, but as of earlier this week, vessels from all ports – Monterey, Half Moon Bay/San Francisco, Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg, Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City – were able to get samples, and test results are expected to be posted on the Department of Public Health’s crab testing results website. Results from rock crab taken off the Channel Islands and Monterey continue to show that the domoic acid in crab is above the federal alert level (more than 30 parts per million).

At this time, the recreational fisheries for Dungeness crab and rock crab, and the commercial fishery for rock crab, remain closed in ocean waters north of 35°40’ North latitude at Piedras Blancas Light Station, San Luis Obispo County, as well as in state ocean waters around the Channel Islands of Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery remains closed statewide.

For the latest crab season information, call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Dungeness crab and rock crab fishery information hotline at (831) 649-2883. The hotline is updated weekly by 1 p.m. on Wednesday, or as soon as new information becomes available. For further information, please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

Post by Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist ♦ CDFW photo by C. Wilson