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Domoic Acid May Delay Dungeness Crab Season


Dungeness crab season is about to begin. Fishermen are stacking their pots and preparing boats for the season that usually starts in December. But this year, domoic acid levels found in some catch may prove to be a problem. The naturally occurring acid can concentrate in fish and shellfish, and is capable of causing sickness in animals that eat them. Hugh Link is the Executive Director of the Oregon Dungeness crab Commission. He says they test for domoic acid annually, but this year cases are elevated due to a large algae bloom off the west coast.

Link: "The El Nino caused that, the algae bloom covered all the way from Southern California up to Alaska. So it was a huge bloom, it was one of the biggest we've ever seen and it caused lots of different scenarios that we aren't use to seeing."  

Link says any crab currently in restaurants or stores is perfectly safe to eat. A second round of testing will determine if Dungeness crab season can start December 1st. Link says the first rounds of crabs are full and robust and ready to harvest. 

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