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According to the recent news, Dungeness Crab Season stays closed. The Department of Fish and Wildlife decided the seasons will remain closed until further notice. Because of this the fish industry suffered great economic loss in the last three months. Rumors claimed the season will soon open, however, the department announced they will not do this yet. In addition, the organization explained the coast is not yet cleared of the lethal toxin found in crabs.
It was reported that crabs contain poisonous domoic acid. This is a neurotoxin produced by a species of marine algae. The crabs get the toxin by eating creatures which had already feed on algae. Crab consumers are at risk of getting themselves the toxin which can cause serious health issues. In humans, small levels ofthis toxin may result in nausea and diarrhea.
When consumed in higher doses it may even cause death. Domoic acid began to show up in crabs after massive algae blooms. This was caused by ocean’s warm waters which discharged the neurotoxin in April. Recent tests still pointed them out in some northern region such as Fort Bragg.
Restaurants and others who sell the buttery crustaceans managed to get through this season by buying the crabs. They claimed they bought the crabs at almost double the price from Oregon and Washington. Nonetheless, with the toxin being so dangerous, some customers decided to stay away from their most appreciated dish.
Charlton Bonham, the head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife claimed the crag season will remain closed as consumers can be exposed to the toxin if they get back in business. He explained human safety is the most important thing for the department.
The Dungeness crab fishing became a large industry with $60 million profit. However, such a situation led to economic losses worth more than $48 million to crab industry. Some crabbers said the season should be opened if the department takes the necessary precautions. On the other hand, others fear the customers won’t feel safe if the toxin isn’t removed from the affected areas. If anyone falls ill, the entire industry will suffer massive losses.
Gov. Jerry Brown required the Obama administration to announce the state’s crab fishery a federal disaster. Nonetheless, further investigation is needed before deciding the situation is a federal disaster. A group of experts from the National Marine Fisheries is to conduct a series of tests to see how the problem can be solved. However, until further notice, the Dungeness Crab Season stays closed.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia