The crab industry took yet another blow yesterday afternoon, as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) decided to keep the commercial Dungeness season closed until more of the California coast is clear of domoic acid. “Like many decisions I have had to make regarding this closure, I do not make it lightly and only after extensive input and thought,” Charlton Boham, director of CDFW, told SFGate.
There had been a shred of hope last Thursday, as state officials opened the recreational Dungeness crab fishing south of Point Reyes. The opening came with a disclaimer, though: Health officials advised diners to tear out guts before cooking, and said that crabs should only be steamed or boiled, not fried or broiled, and that chefs should discard the cooking water.
Regardless of all of this, the important thing to remember is that fishermen are still hurting. This is the longest closure due to domoic acid on record. (The last closure was in 1991, and lasted only one week.) Last week, Governor Jerry Brown asked U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to declare a federal disaster and commercial fishery failure for the state’s $90 million industry, saying that the industry has already suffered a $49 million loss. Representatives Jackie Speier and Jared Huffman are also on board to give disaster relief to crabbers. For now, crabbers and crab consumers will have to continue to wait in hopes the season will still be able to open.
Curious to learn a little more about these crustacean creatures? Check out this video
On another note, as you continue to ride the wave of the work week, how would you like to be riding a real-life 100 foot wave? These hearty fishermen in the North Sea are literally laughing in the face of danger (watch out for profanity). Check it out:
Delia Bense-Kang serves as the Northcoast Environmental Center’s Marine Protected Area Outreach Coordinator and chairs Surfrider Foundation’s Humboldt Chapter.