Health risks prompt extension of rock crab ban
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Services Tuesday extended the duration of an emergency closure of the commercial rock crab fishery in Northern California.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife closed the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point in San Mateo County to the Oregon border after state health agencies determined last fall that rock crabs north of Pigeon Point had unhealthy levels of domoic acid.
The closure was to expire Tuesday, Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jordan Traverso said.
However, in February it was then determined that the commercial rock crab fishery was clean from Bodega Bay south along the entire California Coast.
The closure of the commercial fishery between Bodega Bay and the Oregon border remains in effect until domoic acid levels no longer pose a threat to public health, Traverso said.
The recreational rock crab fishery remained open statewide, but it included a warning from the California Department of Public Health to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught in the closure area north of Pigeon Point.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife is working with the California Department of Public Health to monitor the levels of domoic acid in rock crabs and other species that are not affected by the closure, Traverso said.
The acid is a potent neurotoxin produced naturally in marine algae whose levels can increase under certain ocean conditions.