Update – 4/4/2016 On March 11, 2016 the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and California Department of Public Health lifted the health advisory for Dungeness crab for the region south of the Sonoma-Mendocino County line (near Gualala, Mendocino County). The recreational Dungeness crab fishery has been open since this date, and the commercial fishery opened in this area on March 26. Continue reading
Northern California kelp forests have been reduced to an all-time low due to a “perfect storm” of large-scale ecological impacts. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) marine invertebrate management team has conducted annual ecosystem surveys of kelp forests in Sonoma and Mendocino counties since the late 1990s, and recent observations have caused concern about the state of the kelp forests. The severe reduction in kelp has already impacted the recreational red abalone fishery and commercial red urchin fishery, two economically important fisheries in northern California.
Abalone and Urchins Starving
Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), usually common on the northern California coast, has declined dramatically since 2014. Kelp forests are now 93 percent smaller compared to previous years, creating starvation conditions for herbivores. Continue reading
Update – 3/15/2016 The commercial Dungeness crab fishery remains closed statewide while the recreational fishery opened last month south of Point Reyes, Marin County (38° North latitude) following a recommendation from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Department of Public Health that lifted the health advisory for Dungeness crab in this area. Dungeness crab domoic acid test results from Bodega Bay have shown “clean” areas (less than 30 parts per million (ppm) domoic acid concentration in the crab), but the Russian River area still needs two clean tests. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Update – 12/18/2015 Results from the latest crab tests conducted by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) continue to show that some areas in the Santa Barbara fishing grounds contain crab that exceed the alert level (greater than 30 parts per million) for the neurotoxin, domoic acid. At this time, the commercial and recreational fisheries for Dungeness crab and rock crab north of the Santa Barbara-Ventura county line remain closed, as well as state waters around Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel islands in the northern Channel Islands archipelago.
This week, crab samples were collected between Santa Barbara and Crescent City. Continue reading