After Delays, Commercial Crab Season Opens

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After weeks of delays, the commercial crab season south of Mendocino County opened Sunday, and in fact, some of that fresh crab already made it to several restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Fishermen working on the New Easy Rider out of Berkeley said it wasn't easy getting to their crab pots near the Farallon Islands because of swells higher than 12 feet.

"It was really rough," Lucas Park said. "A lot of guys didn’t get to make it to their pots because of how rough it was. We were fortunate."

Park said Sunday’s haul of more than 11,000 pounds is about average, but he added the crab are much bigger this season.

It means fresh crab in time for holiday dinners. Eduardo Vivanco, a manager at Nick‘s Lighthouse, said when the fresh crab arrived Sunday night, customers could expect to pay $5 less a pound.

"It’s important to have fresh local crab from the bay and for our customers better prices," Vivanco said. "We are happy to have fresh crab tonight." 

On Nov. 22 the season opener was delayed in Sonoma County and south due to the risk of marine life entanglements in crab fishing gear—specifically whales and sea turtles.

In Mendocino County and north to Humboldt and Del Norte counties the commercial season has been delayed due to quality, but is set to open Dec. 31.

Separately, a health advisory that had been issued for Dungeness crab caught recreationally between Shelter Cove (Humboldt County) and Point Arena (Mendocino County) due to high amounts of domoic acid was lifted Saturday by the California Department of Public Health. Officials confirmed that tests showed levels of the acid within a safe range.

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