Dungeness crab season still closed in some CA waters, domoic acid levels remain unsafe

Feb 1, 2016

The State Health Department is continuing to test marine life along the California coast for a toxic chemical that's had many crab fishers out of work for months. 

Credit Kirsten Macintyre, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The season has been open since final day of 2015, but only for part of the state. 

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse in San Simeon is the northern-most point open to commercial Dungeness crabbers, with an exception: waters surrounding the Channel Islands of San Miguel, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa are also off limits.

Recent test results released Friday show toxic chemical levels in crabs have not improved enough to open the season in waters from of San Simeon to the Oregon border.

The California Department of Public Health says it will continue testing domoic acid levels in crabs until it's determined levels are safe for human consumption.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife said warm waters due to El Niño exacerbated a large algal bloom off the California Coast and is responsible the high levels of the potentially deadly acid.