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Dungeness Crab Fishermen Gear Up For Possible Season Opening

KCBS_740 SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -- Local Dungeness crab fishermen are gearing up for a possible season opener in two weeks, while keeping an eye on the forecast for "the blob."

That large patch of warm ocean water may be to blame for last year's dismal crab season.

On his boat in Half Moon Bay, Porter McHenry and crew were swapping out their summer gear for crab pots. Last week, he met with state health officials about the Dungeness crab fishery possibly opening on November 15th, but he can't spend too much time thinking about what regulators are going to do.

"Try to spend as little as possible. Until we see some effect, we try to keep our heads down," McHenry told KCBS.

The news, according to the state of Washington's climatologist Nick Bond, is that the infamous blob of warm water in the Pacific is cooling down somewhat.

"I think it should be winding down. I'm surprised it's had the legs that it has. It is going to take some time," he said.

Domoic acid flourishes in warm water. When it shows up in high concentrations in crab, it can trigger temporary closures of the fishery. McHenry says regulators are better prepared for the possibility this year, and can issue more geographically precise notices that help keep fishermen in business and crab on the table.


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