Dungeness Crab Season to Reopen This Friday

California's commercial crab fishermen will be back in business as of Friday, following months of economic hardship. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has finally lifted a ban on Dungeness crab fishing south of the Sonoma-Mendocino County line after determining that the crustaceans "no longer pose a significant human health risk."

"There's no more demoic acid at this point," said Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jordan Traverso, referring to the dangerous toxin that spurred the fishing moratorium in the first place. "The algal blooms are on their way down. What's out there is left over from before and hasn't fully metabolized."

While the recent decision puts most fishermen in the clear, commercial crabbing is still prohibited from Mendocino County northward for the time being. That's because some trace elements of demoic acid are still being found there.

The initial ban on commercial Dungeness fishing, enacted in November, has dealt a severe blow to the $60-95 million-a-year industry, prompting a request by Gov. Jerry Brown for declaration of a federal fishery disaster. At the time of that request in February, the governor estimated that the ban had already cost the industry and estimated $49 million. Despite last week’s announcement, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham said he will continue to support that declaration.

Read more about the reopening of the commercial Dungeness crab season here.