The fishing ban in areas south of the Sonoma-Mendocino county line in California has been lifted, which is great news for fisherman and others that depend on dungeness crab for their livelihood.
The season, which was supposed to begin in November, was postponed because of high levels of domoic acid in the crabs. Domoic acid can cause seizures, comas, and death when consumed by marine mammals or humans, according to San Francisco Chronicle.
Though state officials have determined the crabs “no longer pose a significant human health risk,” the California Department of Public Health urges consumers to not eat the internal organs of the crab, and to discard the liquid used to cook the crabs rather than use it in sauces, broths, or soups.
While the ban on recreational fishing has been lifted, commercial crabbers will have to wait until 12:01 a.m. on March 26. The commercial crab industry brings in $60 million to $95 million a year during a normal season. For this reason, the state’s wildlife officials are hoping to get federal disaster relief dollars as a result of the late start, reports Oregon Live.
The Crab Emergency Disaster Assistance Act of 2016 introduced earlier this month would appropriate $138.15 million in disaster assistance to California Dungeness and rock crab fishermen and related businesses, says San Francisco Examiner.