Recreational crab fishing enthusiasts are awaiting the start of Dungeness crab season, which opens Saturday, an environmental scientist with the state Department of Fish and Game said.
Every year the season opens for sport fishermen the first Saturday of November at 12:01 a.m.
The season in Northern California ends Sunday, June 30, 2013, said senior environmental scientist Pete Kalvass, who oversees the Invertebrate Management Project at the DFG.
Kalvass said in the Bay Area waters in Bodega Bay, the San Francisco Bay, Half Moon Bay and Monterey Bay are popular for recreational crabbing.
The start of the season draws many fishermen who edge out commercial fishing companies whose season opens Nov. 15.
"They've got 12 days with no competition," Kalvass said.
The competition can be fierce once commercial boats are out on the water with a majority of crabs caught within the first six weeks of the season, according to Kalvass.
However, this year is expected to have an abundance of Dungeness crabs, Kalvass said. "We're coming come off some record years," he said.
Commercial fishing companies have size and sex limits -- only male catches can be kept -- but they can catch unlimited loads of crabs in nets and traps, Kalvass said. Recreational crabbers are limited to 6 to 10 crabs per catch.
Size limits are also enforced and any undersized crabs or other species that are accidentally caught have to be quickly released, according to Kalvass.
More information about Dungeness crab season can be found at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/crabs.asp.