Oregon and Washington delay crab season because of toxin

Imported Dungeness crabs are displayed for sale at Fisherman's Wharf, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, in San Francisco. Wildlife authorities delayed the local Dungeness crab season and closed the rock crab fishery for most of California on Thursday, just days after warning of dangerous levels of a neurotoxin linked to a massive algae bloom off the coast. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon and Washington have joined California in delaying the start of their commercial crab seasons after dangerous toxin levels were found in the crabs.

Officials say elevated levels of domoic acid were found in crabs in all three states. The toxin is produced by a massive bloom of microscopic algae that’s caused by warming ocean conditions.

California had already delayed the Nov. 15 start of its season.

Oregon on Friday delayed the Dec. 1 start along the entire coast, and Washington officials delayed the season start for the central coast.

Dungeness crabs are a tradition at Thanksgiving and other holiday meals. In 2014, the industry harvested nearly $170 million worth of Dungeness crab.

Officials say crabs sold in stores and restaurants remain safe to eat.

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