The delay is caused by the quality tests revealing the crabs' body weight has less than 25 percent meat. The department said at least 25 percent meat of a crab's body weight is ideal.
Originally set for Dec. 1, the harvest was set to be ready by Dec. 31. However, after tests revealed the crabs were not ready, the season opening date was pushed back to Jan. 15.
It cannot be delayed beyond Jan. 15, according to the department.
Sonoma County south does not fall under the same restrictions; its season opened Nov. 15., allowing the crabs to have soft shells.