California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)


This is a Press Release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed in Northern California

Posted: 20 Nov 2018 05:02 PM PST

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a memo today delaying the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season due to poor crab meat quality test results. The delay includes Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties).

The northern Dungeness crab fishery is delayed until 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec.16, 2018 pending another round of test results tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1. If these results indicate good quality, the fishery will open and be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.

“Last season, the northern Dungeness crab fishery was delayed until Jan. 15, the latest a quality delay can be extended,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz. “Results from our recent test are very similar to last year indicating that this delay may be extended past Dec. 16.”

If the next round of quality tests remain low, the CDFW Director has the authority to delay the season an additional 15 days until Dec. 31. Under new legislation, CDFW can continue testing until Jan. 15.

Crab are evaluated to compare meat weight to total crab weight to determine whether they are ready for harvest under testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. If results indicate poor crab quality, the CDFW director may delay the fishery under authority of Fish and Game Code Section 8276.2.

The southern Dungeness crab fishery opened on Nov. 15, except for the area from the southern boundary of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County (38° 18’ N. latitude) north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125’ N. latitude) which was delayed due to domoic acid. Upon a recommendation from health agencies that domoic acid no longer poses a risk to public health, the CDFW director may provide a minimum 72-hours’ notice before the gear-setting period and avoid a gear set date that lands on state and federal holidays.

No vessel may take or land crab in an area closed for a meat quality delay (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9) or within an area closed for a domoic acid delay. In addition, any vessel that takes, possess onboard, or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in a delayed area for 30 days following the opening of those areas. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon, Washington and California.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2018-19 Dungeness crab commercial season.

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit:

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit:



  • That’s going to bum alot of people out,I’ve been seeing those crab pods everywhere.

  • the cause must be from that Air Force radar station.

    • It probably does. Thank you for creating awareness about the role that geoengineering has in deteriorating ocean conditions world wide.

      • so you are saying an oxide of a metal is capable of changing the temperature and pH of the ocean worldwide cause decay of the coral reef, mass disease, and red tide? keep in mind that the metal is only soluble in certain conditions where the pH is below 5.

  • Already crabbed and consumed from Bodega bay, and Fort Bragg recreationly. The crabs in both spots were full and sweet. This is a crock of xxxx. Just like last year. FN government regulations.

  • I think you can still pick up crabs near the library in Eureka.

  • The delay is based on tests by people who know what they’re doing to ensure the crab that goes to market is high quality. Just because you caught some good crab in one location does not mean that the whole region has good crab.

    • That is true but testing four crabs in the whole region from one spot in the region isn’t an accurate test. Having many friends who commercially, these meetings that are held are a joke. Politics.

      • if you don’t want to believe that data, then join Humboldt Tuna Club and read the daily comments on the current condition of what sport crabbers are catching. as of earlier this week before the swell picked up, the smaller crustier looking crabs are mostly full but the jumbos, which there are many of, are around 70% or less. and why is it that everything is political when you have no idea what you are talking about. knowledge really does relieve fear, get some.

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