Oregon, Washington postpone crab season due to toxic algae

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There's been another blow to the Dungeness crab season and it'll likely hit your wallet. Two more states have postponed their crab season due to a toxic algae outbreak.

Hope for a healthy Dungeness crab season is fading faster than the sun. The fishing boat High Hopes puttered into port with a captain who says the delay of the Bay Area season is devastating.

"I don't have any money, I don't have any income," High Hopes Captain John Mellor said.

For the third generation fisherman, two-thirds of his yearly income is made during the Dungeness harvest. But a large algae bloom has caused crab to test high for domoic acid.

It's a health concern and serious threat to Mellor's livelihood. "Just tighten our belts and not spend any money and try and get through," he said.

"I wish they were out in the water so we could have some crab this holiday season, but it looks like we're going to have to import," San Jose resident Debbie Nelson said.

The Dungeness will come from somewhere, says the manager of Alioto's Waterside Caf. "We're getting updates every day. We're trying to find out what's the latest," Enrique Chavez said.

But it's with bated breath. Now Oregon and parts of the Washington coast are delaying crab seasons too.

"For us, you're still going to get great crab and it's going to be quality, but it's just not going to be from where we normally go and catch them at," Chevez said.

Alaska and the Puget Sound could be the only fisheries with Dungeness that's deemed safe in time for the holidays, meaning the market rate price will likely increase.

"We are going to have to raise them slightly, but not to the point where it's unaffordable. We don't want to discourage anybody from being able to come and enjoy our crab," Chavez said.

Affordability depends on who you ask - the tourists, the locals who enjoy crab. "Definitely not something we can afford. It's quite expensive," Nelson said.

Or the fisherman facing financial uncertainty as they wait for a clean test of Dungeness crab.
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