California Delays Crab Opening, Northwest Tests For Toxins

Nov 5, 2015

California officials delayed opening its recreational crab fishing season Thursday. Scientists have found high levels of a potentially lethal toxin in Dungeness crab in California. A similar delay could come any time for California's commercial crab season.

Hugh Link directs the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. He says testing is underway, but no decision has been made about Oregon's season.

"We did have a couple of crab out of Brookings that had some elevated levels that would be of concern, so that we'll be doing some more testing there again, obviously, as part of our pre-season testing," Link said. "It appeared that the couple of crab that we did get out of Coos Bay and Alsea were good. We also know that Washington has been doing some aggressive testing, and they're all clear now.”

If California is closed for a while, and Oregon and Washington open on time December 1st - it could mean Northwest crabbers can sell at higher prices.

But officials up and down the West Coast say the highest priority is ensuring consumers are sold only healthy crab meat.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting.