Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opener Delayed Again Due to Quality Testing

December 26, 2017 – The Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced a final 15-day delay for the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. Crab condition improved from the last round of pre-season quality testing conducted on Dec. 19. However, crab had not reached the minimum meat recovery criteria as established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee testing protocol.
The delay affects Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open on 12:01 a.m. Jan. 15, 2018, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2018. This is the last delay the Director can issue due to
Dungeness crab quality testing.
No vessel may take or land crab within Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 during the closure period.  In addition, any vessel that lands crab from ocean waters outside of Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9, or any other delayed opening areas in Oregon or Washington, for 30 days following the opening of those areas as outline in California’s Fair Start Provision (Fish and Game Code, section 8279.1).
The director’s memo can be found here.
The updated Frequently Asked Questions for the current 2017-18 season addresses questions regarding the Fair Start provision.
Testing results for domoic acid are posted by the California Department of Public Health.
For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories.
For more information about Dungeness crab fisheries in California, please visit