Delayed Dungeness Crab Season Affects Central Coast Seafood Restaurants

You will have to wait a little longer before you can enjoy Dungeness Crab in a restaurant or at home.

The commercial Dungeness crab season has been delayed a second time, this time from December 1 to 15 for Southern California and until December 16 for Northern California.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the commercial Dungeness crab season is being delayed for two reasons: poor meat quality and protection of whales.

For the regions of the northern management zone, it is delayed due to the quality of the crab meat.

“A percentage of the crab’s body weight has to reach a certain threshold before these fisheries can open,” said Ryan Bartling, senior environmental scientist for the marine region at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

The quality of the crab must reach or exceed 24% of the body weight of the crab before a fishery can open.

Wildlife experts are also concerned that humpback whales and blue whales in fishing areas could become entangled in crab nets in the Central Management Zone, or south of the Sonoma County line and south of the Sonoma County line. Mendocino.

“Whales are still abundant off our coasts based on recent aerial and marine surveys,” Bartling said.

The dangers of entangling whales can be detrimental to a fisherman’s business, and the owner of Giovanni’s fish market and gallery, Giovanni DeGarimore, says he understands the reason for the delay.

“[Fishermen] can lose a whole year, so they would rather shut down preventively and lose a month or two rather than lose eight months of the fishing season, ”said DeGarimore.

The holiday season is one of the busiest times for Dungeness Crab, and delays like these have a huge impact on local seafood stores like the Fish Market and Giovanni’s Gallery in Morro Bay. .

“Dungeness crab fishermen have had very difficult years. The catches were not great and we had several closures, several delays, ”said restaurant owner Giovanni DeGarimore.

Giovanni’s Fish Market and Gallery is working to meet the high demand for crab, but DeGarimore says the price and availability of the product can be difficult.

It has to rely on foreign suppliers.

“We have to bring him straight from Washington right now,” he said.

Bartling said whale migration is expected to be underway soon and when that happens there may be enough time for fisheries to recover.

“I think it’s really about doing the right thing for the environment, even fishermen, as frustrated as they are, they understand they have to do the right thing not just for the whales, but to protect their fishing industry, ”DeGarimore said.

Another risk assessment will be carried out to collect more data on whale concentrations in the near future.

For more information on safe whale fishing and concentration plans, click here.

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