Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Opens

By Laura Dudnick,, February 11, 2016

Recreational Dungeness crab fishermen have been given the green light to begin plucking crustaceans from the waters along much of the California coast, including San Francisco.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife on Thursday announced it had lifted the ban on recreational Dungeness crab fishing south of Point Reyes in Marin County after state health officials said Dungeness crab caught along the coast no longer pose a “significant human health risk,” though commercial fishing for the Bay Area favorite remains closed.

Both the commercial and recreational Dungeness crab seasons were set to open in November. But for the first time in recent memory, high levels of domoic acid prompted delays to the start of fishing seasons for crustaceans in California.

Earlier this week, city officials announced an emergency relief plan for commercial Dungeness crab fishermen devastated by the lack of a crab season this winter. The Crab Industry Relief Plan allocates more than $128,000 to waive fees and rents for three months for the berthing, storage and leasing for commercial crab boat owners and receivers.

The fishing industry generates about $2.35 million in revenue for the Port of San Francisco each year, including more than $1 million in taxes for The City, according to a 2001 Port economic impact study of the San Francisco fishing industry. In addition to crab, the main fishing seasons include salmon from April to the fall, and herring from December to February.

Many of the Port’s fishing industry tenants have been customers of the Port for four generations.