Crab Pots lying Empty on Docks as California Delays its Commercial Crab Season

Crab Pots lying Empty on Docks as California Delays its Commercial Crab Season

Usually at this point of the year, fishermen and boats are seen filled with crabs. This is a time when workers prepare to haul millions of pounds of Dungeness crabs that is a tradition at Thanksgiving and other holiday meals. But this year, fishermen are sitting idle and waiting for the California government to open the lucrative Dungeness crab season.

Officials reported that experts at Oregon and Washington are testing crab samples and will very soon decide whether they can start the crab season by opening its coastal season by December 1 as planned.

Officials said that a massive bloom of toxic microscopic algae in the Pacific Ocean is also threatening the crab industry. These algae produce a natural toxin called domoic acid that is harmful to wildlife and fish.

A closure of the crab season along the entire West Coast will severely hit the crab industry, which harvested nearly $170 million worth of Dungeness crab in 2014.

“Everybody is counting on crab to make it, so this is pretty disappointing. Whenever they test clean, we'll go get them. I'm very hopeful that it's sooner than later”, said Larry Collins, president of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association.

According to experts, the warm conditions that set up the toxic algae bloom are providing a clear picture of what’s going to come next, as ocean temperatures are predicted to get warmer in near future.

Warmer ocean temperature has shaken up the fisheries in New England. It has also led to the collapse of the region's cod fishery.

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