Fish wrap: Dungeness crab season is upon us
2017-11-14 17:17:01   copyfrom:    hits:

UNITED STATESFriday, November 03, 2017The salmon season went quietly into the night this week, as did the last c

Friday, November 03, 2017

The salmon season went quietly into the night this week, as did the last chance of the year for divers and tidepoolers to collect abalone. Halloween has come and gone, falling leaves have exposed a thousand red persimmons on the neighbors’ tree, and rain is in the forecast. All of which confirms it’s November, and that recreational Dungeness crab season is upon us. Opening day is Saturday.

Dungeness crab is one of the most celebrated of seasonal fisheries in California. By contrast, when rockfish season opens after its annual hiatus, there is little fanfare or fuss. This is surely because crabs are both easy to catch — with a natural tendency toward abundance — and are about the tastiest thing available to eat in local waters after salmon and anchovies (yes, I’m serious). But whereas it takes comparatively hard work to catch pelagic fishes in the open ocean, those pursuing Dungies rarely go home empty-handed and can, with confidence, invite the family for a crab feed in advance. True, it helps to have a boat or a kayak, but you can also catch them using rod-and-reel gear from local beaches.

One thing that makes the Dungeness fishery so remarkable is the natural regenerative powers of the crabs themselves. Though the crab population gets fished almost to depletion each season — anglers talk about “mopping up” the Dungies — the stock rebounds during the four-month annual closure. By November most years, the animals teem on the seafloor like delicious, refuse-eating cockroaches of the sea.

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