Commercial crabbing to open after November 15 in Northern California
Here's the latest news on the Dungeness Crab Season: Dungeness crab sport fishing season opens today Wildlife officials expect decent year. News is authored by Samantha Clark
"SANTA CRUZ: Dungeness crab fans can start fishing this weekend but must wait to set their nets after 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
Previous years have yielded high numbers, but Dungeness crab catches tend to be cyclical. State Fish and Wildlife expects to see more average seasons in the future.
"We're coming off really good crab years, so people might expect some leaner years to come," said local sportsfisher Mike Baxter. "But we're hoping it'll be as good as last year."
He said expectations are high.
The crabs are often found at sandy or sand-mud bottoms at depths less than 300 feet. They tend to live in cooler northern and central California waters.
Fisherman can keep a maximum of 10 Dungeness crabs with shells larger than 5.75 inches across. Cabbers on party boats can keep up to six crabs that are a minimum of 6 inches.
Regulation requires that fishers monitor their gear and raise nets every two hours to make sure undersized and unwanted species can be quickly released.
Fish and Wildlife also suggests trap fishermen watch their traps because if lost, they can kill crabs.
Crabbing is banned in the San Francisco and San Pablo bays, which are crab nursery areas.
Commercial fishers, whose season begins Nov. 15, use the sport opener to gauge roughly how their season will fare".
If the sports guys get a few, the commercial guys get a little excited," said Hans Haveman, owner of H&H Fresh Fish, a local purchaser. "They are definitely watching what the sport guys are doing, but it's kind of hard to tell.
General sport regulations for Santa Cruz County:
Season: Nov. 1 to June 30
Crab size: Minimum of 5.75 inches across
Daily limit: 10 per day
Source: State Sport Fishing Regulations, Ocean Ed., http://goo.gl/eTUKb8
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