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State Officials Delay Opener Of Recreational Dungeness Crab Season

SACRAMENTO (AP) — California officials voted 3-0 in favor of delaying the Dungeness crab season and closing the rock crab fishery just days after warning of dangerous levels of a neurotoxin linked to a massive algae bloom off the West Coast.

The state Fish and Game Commission voted Thursday, a day after health officials warned people to avoid eating Dungeness and rock crabs because of high levels of domoic acid.

The recreational Dungeness season was scheduled to start Saturday and the commercial season was set for Nov. 15. Officials didn't say how long the delay might be.

High levels of domoic acid have been found in crabs from the Oregon border to the southern Santa Barbara County line.

The naturally-occurring neurotoxin has affected shellfish and sickened or killed seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales throughout the region. In humans, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness, but at high levels can cause persistent short-term memory loss, epilepsy and death.

State officials say algal blooms are common, but this one is particularly large and persistent, possibly due to the El Niño event California is experiencing.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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