Officials hopeful about toxin-free Dungeness crab season

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)


SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — The upcoming Dungeness crab season is expected to avoid last year’s issues with toxic algae, keeping the Pacific Coast shellfish on dinner tables this winter.

The Press Democrat reports ( ) that the season doesn’t open until Nov. 15, but California officials say samples suggest the fishery will likely open on time and have the crab available for holiday markets.

A warm expanse of water and unusually large algal bloom last year caused the neurotoxin domoic acid to accumulate in Dungeness crab, delaying the season start by more than four months.

The state Department of Public Health has been testing crabs over the past 2 1/2 months and occasionally finds one containing the toxin. Department Chief of Food Safety Patrick Kennelly says testing has shown improvement, although spikes could still appear.

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