Based on the first round of crab quality tests, Crescent City’s commercial crab season is expected to open Dec. 1 after two consecutive years of being delayed to the maximum extent possible (Jan. 15) for the first and second times in decades.
Crabs tested from North Coast ports Monday indicated that the fishery is well on track to be at the 25 percent meat-to-total-weight ratio required for the season to open, with Crescent City crabs at 24.5 percent. In late October last year, crabs tested from Crescent City were only 15.5 percent meat.
Crabs tested from Eureka were 23.2 percent meat and Fort Bragg’s crabs were 25.8 percent. There was no available boat to sample out of Trinidad for the first round of tests.
“These results look promising for a regular Dec. 1 opener — however not having data for Trinidad makes it more difficult to predict with accuracy,” said Pete Kalvass, senior environmental scientist for invertebrates at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The commercial crab fishery in California is coming off of three banner years in a row, all ranking in the top-10 for landings by pound since records began in 1915. Crescent City is California’s top Dungeness crab port, contributing 38 percent of all crab caught in California last season.
Of the 23.6 million pounds of Dungeness crab landed in California last season, more than 9 million pounds were landed in Crescent City.