The recreational Dungeness Crab season will officially open this Saturday with new regulations in place, the California Department of Fish and Game announced on Thursday.
Fish and Game implemented new regulations this year requiring crabbers using hoop netters to bring their nets to the surface at least once every two hours to check its contents.
The regulations are part of an effort to ensure that fishermen do not inadvertently lose their gear in the ocean, the agency said. The new rules will also serve to enable fishermen to release any undersize crabs and incidentally caught fish and invertebrates more quickly, according to the agency.
Fishermen at outside Half Moon Bay have been for the season opener for the past few weeks in anticipation of the Dungeness crab season.
A popular place for recreational crabbers is the in Pacifica. As it is a public pier, no license is needed to crab or fish here.
The forecast is good for the crabs which can be found off the northern and central California coast.
“Crab populations appear to be robust this year, especially in Central California, coming off a record harvest during the ,” said Fish and Game Senior Environmental Scientist Pete Kalvass. “This could mean another great season for recreational crabbers.”
Fish and Game allows recreational crabbers to take ten Dungeness crabs a day which are greater than 5.75 inches in width across the shell. Recreational crabbers in party boats south of Mendocino County may only take six Dungeness crabs per day. Those taken from party boats must have a minimum width of 6 inches across the shell, according to Fish and Game.
Taking Dungeness crabs from San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay are not allowed.
Fish and Game advised those using traps to monitor their gear closely in an effort to prevent losing the gear in the water. Lost traps could become a "self-baiting crab killer" and have an adverse impact on the crab fishery, the agency said.
Recreational crabbers are not allowed to open their nets until 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 5, according to Fish and Game.