Rock Crab Testing Continues in San Mateo and Sonoma Counties

rock crab
Cancer antennarius, one of a handful of rock crab species that inhabit the waters off California  photo by Lovell and Libby Langstroth © California Academy of Sciences

UPDATE 7/6/2016  Commercial and Recreational Rock Crab Fisheries Now Open at Pigeon Point, San Mateo County

The commercial and recreational rock crab season closures will remain in place north of Sand Hill Bluff, Santa Cruz County (36° 58.72’ N latitude) until testing results indicate that elevated levels of domoic acid in rock crab have declined below the alert level of 30 parts per million (ppm). The latest test results from locations near the San Francisco Bay Area are posted on the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) crab testing results website.

Within the past week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has collected rock crab samples from the Bodega Bay and Half Moon Bay areas. Both of those areas still require two consecutive weeks of clean samples before crab can be considered safe for human consumption.  At that time, CDFW will consult with CDPH regarding the extent and timing of opening areas presently closed to rock crab fishing, and when and where additional testing in northern California may be necessary. As a reminder, when viewing the test results on the CDPH website, keep in mind that all the crab in a sample must test below the action level (30 ppm) before the sample can be considered “clean”.

Recreational Dungeness crab fishing has been open statewide since May 19, 2016, and the remaining California commercial Dungeness crab fishing closure area opened on May 26, 2016. For the latest information, visit the CDFW crabs webpage or call the CDFW Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information line: (831) 649-2883.

post by Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist