Dungeness crab fishing is one of the most dangerous fisheries, especially off the coast of California, and it’s also extremely important for local economies.
On Monday, November 16 the commercial crab season opened for the Central coast from Gualala to Monterey. The Season from Gualala north is scheduled to open on December 1, which includes Fort Bragg, Eureka, Trinadad & Crescent City.
Each year the DFG’s Marine Invertebrate Project test the ratio of meat to shell because by law commercial crab season can’t start until that ratio is 25%. The average percentage of meat to shell was 22.4% among the Four areas, with Trinidad and Eureka crabs at 21.2% and 21.5% and with Crescent City crabs at 24.2%. The 25% percent level must be met in all of the areas before crab season can start. Another test is required to determine if the North Coast crab population will reach the required plumpness by December 1. The 2006 season looked very similar to this year, and they filled out just fine.
Fisheries biologists expect the season this year to be par with last year, which 1.1 million pounds were caught on the Central Coast, the third year of a steady decline. The last time the catch was that low was in 2000, but then it jumped to 6.1 million pounds for the 2005-06 season.