Just in time for Dungeness crab season to be basically over, the ban on fishing the beloved state product has been lifted. Starting Saturday, March 26, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has approved fishing south of the Sonoma-Mendocino county line as “low or undetectable levels” of domoic acid were found in waters in that area. Recently, the state lifted restrictions on recreational fishing, but this commercial ban lift will be the major boom the industry needs. The potentially deadly neurotoxin has been the cause of a shutdown of Dungeness crab season, an industry that accounts for up to $95 million a year in the area.
For now, crabbing is still banned north of Mendocino County, and the California Department of Public Health is advising consumers not to eat the internal organs, or guts, as well as discard the liquid used to cook the crabs rather than use them in sauces or soups. The news is bound to be accompanied by local crabs on menus around town in the very near future, so keep an eye out. (Here's last year's roundup of places with crab; stay tuned for an update.)