Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
California Fish and Wildlife officials have delayed the start of commercial Dungeness crab fishing north of Sonoma County for a second time this year after routine testing showed the crab aren’t meaty enough to be harvested yet.
It will be at least New Year’s Eve before crabbers can range north of the Sonoma-Mendocino county line in search of the lucrative crustaceans already being caught in areas to the south, the agency said.
The highly regulated fishery opens to commercial crabbers Nov. 15 most years off the Sonoma Coast and in more southerly waters off San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, though the past two seasons have been disrupted by an algae-related toxin. This fall was the first time in three years that the season opened on time.The northern season was scheduled to open Dec. 1, conditional upon a minimum meat recovery rate from tested samples of Dungeness crab.
Underweight samples checked in November prompted a 15-day delay in the Northern California season. Additional samples tested Dec. 5 weren’t sufficiently filled out either, officials said.