Commercial Crab Fishing Delayed North of Patrick’s Point

Commercial crab catch.

Commercial crab catch. [Photo from the Department of Fish and Wildlife]

Press release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County north to the California/Oregon state line after state health agencies recommended to delay the fishery in the area due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in the area south of Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line will open at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12.

This delay shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at California Department of Public Health (CDPH), determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends opening the fishery in this region. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the commercial fishery in this area can safely be opened.

No vessel may take, possess or land crab within a delayed area during the closure period. In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses on board or lands Dungeness crab from ocean waters outside of this delayed area is prohibited from taking, possessing onboard or landing Dungeness crab for 30 days in this area once it opens to commercial fishing pursuant to Section 8279.1 of the Fish and Game Code.

Once a positive determination is made to open the fishery, CDFW may provide the fleet a minimum of 72-hour advance notice announcing when trap gear can be set.

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

This area north of Patrick’s Point remains closed for recreational take of Dungeness crab, also due to domoic acid.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by a naturally occurring marine alga, whose levels can be increased under certain ocean conditions, and can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and death.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (1/7/2019)

CDFW Director’s Closure Declaration (1/7/2019)

2018-19 Frequently Asked Questions for the Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery (12/3/2018)



  • Oh well to much crap in the water.

  • Another industry is dying

  • its starting to look like the Klamath is the source of the bad algae.

    • Perhaps, but it has been an increasing issue for much if the west coast. The traditional Dec. 1 date has happened for years. Last year, Oregon didn’t open till the middle of January because of domoic acid.

      • Sigh…hasn’t happened. A season opening on Dec 1 HASN’T happened.

        • first sat. in Dec is almost the same. I fish and crab. I saw the red tide we got about 6-8 years ago, can’t remember which. it was the first on the west coast. it has been going on in the east coast for a century. ag runoff/human runoff is the culprit on the east coast.

          • Oh we have certainly had red tides on the west coast. A ban on clam digging has happened for as long as I can remember, because of “red tide”. This is different. Something is going on in the ocean. I’ve spent 40 years on or involved with the sea. Not going to get into politics, but the climate/ocean conditions are changing.

            But yeah, Florida this year is a prime example of what you are speaking about.

            • interesting. I was told the red ribbon I encountered on the rip was something new to the northcoast when I reported it.

  • Turning swimmers into trimmers!

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