California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season May be Delayed

The state may delay California’s commercial Dungeness crab season. The season, which was due to open Nov. 15 on the coast south of the Mendocino-Sonoma County line, could now begin on Nov. 23.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife made the announcement Friday in response to a settlement with an environmental group over whale entanglements in commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear. It will make the final decision on Nov. 4. Recreational season will begin as scheduled on Nov. 2.

Even if the eight-day delay to the commercial season happens, it should not disrupt the Bay Area tradition of cracked Dungeness crab on the Thanksgiving table, said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. However, it would cut into a peak period for the local fishing fleet, which has already lost millions of dollars when three of the last four commercial seasons were delayed because of domoic acid contamination from algal blooms.

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