OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington shellfish managers have delayed the opening of the commercial crabbing season off a portion of the southern coast.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife says recent tests show crab caught along the coast are safe to eat but they want to do more tests before starting the commercial fishery. They're concerned about a natural toxin called domoic acid that can be harmful or even fatal if eaten in large quantities.
Officials hope to open the stretch from the Columbia River to Klipsan Beach by mid-December. It was originally set to open Dec. 1. The delay also includes the Willapa Bay commercial fishery.
Recreational crabbing is open in all coastal waters, as well as in several areas of Puget Sound.
State officials say crab sold from tribal fisheries - which are open along the central and northern coast - have been tested and are safe to eat.