State shellfish managers have delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery on Washington’s coast due to inadequate meat in crab shells, not due to domoic acid.
The commercial fishery on Washington’s coast typically opens Dec. 1 but recent testing indicates crabs along the coast do not have sufficient meat in their shells to meet industry standards for harvest and the fishery will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 to allow more time for crabs to fill with more meat.
Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says another round of testing will take place after the Thanksgiving holiday to determine whether or not the fishery can open Dec. 16.
“It’s not unusual for crabs to need more time to fatten up,” Ayres said.
They say that contrary to a report, WDFW did not delay the commercial crab fishery due to a harmful algae bloom.
Recent test results indicate crabs along the Washington coast are currently safe to eat.
Recreational crabbing remains open in Washington’s coastal waters as well as in several areas of the Puget Sound.