Commercial Dungeness crab season is delayed until at least mid-December, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.

The original opening date of Dec. 1 is delayed to Dec. 16 due to various factors including whale presence and low-quality crab meat.

In the CDFW’s central management area, from Point Arena to the Mexico border, whales remain in the crab fishing area resulting in a potential for entanglement. In early December, the department will reassess entanglement risk and whale presence.

In addition to whale presence, meat quality testing in crabs in the CDFW’s northern management area has shown that the crabs will not be ready to be fished until mid-December.

CDFW director Charlton Bonham said:

“Our hope is both quality testing and additional marine life survey data will support a unified statewide opener on Dec. 16, just in time to have crab for the holidays and New Year.”

More information on Dungeness crab can be found online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

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