REDDING, Calif. - On Monday, January 16, the last spot on the North Coast for commercial Dungeness crab fishing in California opened, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The final area to open is the stretch between Ten Mile River near Mendocino County and Shelter Cove near Humboldt County. It opened at midnight.
In a written statement, the Department said the area was previously closed due to high levels of domoic acid found in the crabs. High levels of domoic acid are unsafe for humans to consume. Last year, crab season was severely affected by high levels.
The acid grows on algae and prospers in warmer ocean waters. According to CJ Lefort, a co-owner of R&R Quality Meats, Inc. in Redding, Pacific Ocean temperatures were higher than average by 15 degrees.
Lefort said the crabbing season is in much better condition this year.
"The crabs have been of really good quality and there's been plenty of it, so we're selling quite a bit," Lefort said.
However, he did mention a couple of issues during the season, including delayed openings and the fisherman's strike that started in late December and ended in early January. Overall, Lefort said he is pleased with the way the season is progressing and added that it will likely last until June.
In November, the Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a health warning to recreational fishermen not to eat the viscera (internal organs) of crabs caught north of Point Reyes in the Bay Area. However, in their written statement, they said the advisory has been lifted.