West Coast Commercial Crab Season Delayed

Dungeness crab is huge—it’s our state’s most valuable fishery. But a massive algal bloom has flooded the coast, from California to Alaska, with high levels of domoic acid, which can be deadly to humans if consumed. As a result, commercial crab seasons in California, Oregon and Washington have been delayed.

No one knows for sure what caused the algal bloom, but scientists believe warm water caused by some combination of El Nino and climate change are to blame for the most widespread, persistent bloom we’ve ever seen in the Pacific. Runoff from urban and rural areas that get into our rivers and streams ultimately end up in the ocean and are likely to exacerbate these events, making it even harder for coastal critters to thrive.

With any luck, the next round of testing will confirm that domoic acid levels are low enough to warrant opening Oregon’s commercial crab season later this month. Until then, many holiday dining traditions have been put on ice.

Read more at OPB here.

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