California’s crab season, the time of the famous Dungeness crab — scheduled to start in 10 days — will be put on temporary hold because this year’s crop is too toxic for human consumption, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The California Department of Public Health is advising against eating any Dungeness or rock crabs that were caught anywhere between the coasts of Oregon and Santa Barbara County because they may have “potentially deadly levels of domoic acid,” the Chronicle reports. Meanwhile, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment suggests pushing off Dungeness season until later and closing this season’s rock-crab fishing altogether.
The acid, which comes from a plant called pseudo-nitzschia, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, memory loss, seizures and, in extreme cases, death. The Chronicle reports that some boat owners and crabbers think the water’s temperature, which has been unseasonably warm as of late, may have something to do with the toxin appearing in the crabs. Crabbers — who can earn around half of their annual income during this season — stand to lose the most, should the dangers persist.
In the meantime, we guess you’ll have to find your crab fat elsewhere this season.