Domoic acid once again forces closure of some West Coast Dungeness crab fishing areas

Published on
February 6, 2017

High levels of domoic acid are forcing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to close a section of the state’s coastline to Dungeness crab fishing temporarily.

In a notice published 2 February, the state closed the Dungeness crab fishery to commercial fishing beginning on Friday, 10 February from Coos Bay to Heceta Head, a stretch of coastline approximately 65 miles in length. All crab landed after 25 January and until the ban goes into effect is required to be eviscerated, according to the notice

The Department of Fish and Wildlife will continue to test crab for domoic acid, and will reopen the fishery after it records two successive rounds of results listing domoic acid levels below 30 parts-per-million in crab viscera, with the testing and samples taken at least seven days apart.

“We will be continuing to work closely with the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry to test crab from this area and surrounding areas as regularly as possible to evaluate future management actions for this health closure area,” the statement said.
Crab meat from the health closure area has tested below the limit for domoic acid and is safe for human consumption, according to the release.

The Dungeness crab fishery on the U.S. West Coast has gotten off to a rocky state, with periodic closings up and down the coast caused by findings of high levels of domoic acid. A fishery-wide strike in late December and early January also cost the fleet two weeks of fishing.

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