A whale of a problem forces delayed start to Dungeness crab season

It may not be before mid-December when Dungeness crab claws its way onto a dinner plate near you. (Illustration by rawpixel.com and macrovector/Freepik)

Crab lovers might be feeling a bit more crabby than usual for the next several weeks; the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has delayed the launch of commercial Dungeness crab season until at least mid-December.

The original opening date of Dec. 1 has been pushed back to Dec. 16 due to various factors including whale presence and low-quality crab meat, state wildlife officials announced this week.

In the CDFW’s central management area, from Point Arena to the Mexico border, whales remain in the crab fishing area resulting in a potential for entanglement. In early December, the department will reassess entanglement risk and whale presence.

In addition to whale presence, meat quality testing in crabs in the CDFW’s northern management area has shown that the crabs will not be ready to be fished until mid-December.

“Our hope is both quality testing and additional marine life survey data will support a unified statewide opener on Dec. 16, just in time to have crab for the holidays and New Year.” CDFW director Charlton Bonham said.

More information on Dungeness crab can be found online.

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