New Recreational Crab Regulations Aim to Reduce “Ghost Fishing” and More

crab measure
Measure Dungeness crab through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab must measure at least 5¾ inches across. CDFW illustration

This year, the recreational Dungeness crab season opens statewide on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The daily bag and possession limit for Dungeness crab remains ten crabs per day that are at least 5¾ inches across, measured by the shortest distance through the body shell from edge to edge directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Dungeness crab can be taken in all ocean waters of the state where they occur, excluding San Francisco and San Pablo bays. Continue reading

Agencies Mull Options to Prepare for Future Domoic Acid Events

crab testing
CDPH staff collects viscera from cooked crabs during domoic acid testing in 2015.   photo courtesy CDPH

In 2015 and 2016, there was an unprecedented bloom of a single-celled plant called Pseudo-nitzschia in ocean waters, which resulted in  elevated levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab and rock crab. The elevated levels of domoic acid in crab along the West Coast impacted California fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon Border.

The conditions that support the growth of Pseudo-nitzschia are impossible to predict, but tend to be more common in the warmer months Continue reading

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 Continue reading

Recreational and Commercial Dungeness Crab Fisheries Open South of Sonoma-Mendocino County Line, Crab Testing Continues

crab in trap
Dungeness crab in crab pot

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

California Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery Remains Closed While Crab Testing Continues

Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab

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