A big ocean algae bloom in the waters up against Northern and Central America has Oregon Commercial Fishermen wondering about what kind of crab season they might have, IF the crab season actually starts on it’s normal December 1st opening day.
A highly dangerous toxin called Domoic Acid has been showing up in shoreline crab along the California Coast – even as far north as Coos Bay in Oregon. Domoic Acid can make humans deathly ill – in fact it can be fatal. Even mild infections can cause nausea and loss of short term memory.
California health authorities have urged Californians not to eat crab taken from the California Coast.
Here in Oregon, where the situation doesn’t appear to be quite as dire, an advisory has been issue by the Oregon Health Authority. The OHA says that those who harvest crab along Oregon’s shores should carefully clean the crab by turning it over and removing the organs or visceral material as it’s called. Clean it all out and wash the crab thoroughly. Then break the crab in half and remove the crab meat from the body, the claws and legs. Make sure it’s thoroughly cooked and you should be fine.
But as for the fate of this year’s commercial crab season, the ODFW jury is still out. They are, at the moment, having selected crab boats go out, collect crab in their pots and then return for an ODFW lab analysis. A crab research specialist at ODFW told News Lincoln County that depending on the concentration of the Domoic acid in the crab, the season might start on time, but with special emphasis on processing most of the crab into strictly meat – separating the guts – and salvaging the meat. Advice to the wise is to be extremely cautious about buying live crab. Be absolutely sure about where it came from. Make sure the visceral organs (the guts) are removed, the crab thoroughly washed, leaving only the body, legs and claws to prepare.
An announcement on the upcoming crab season will reportedly come late next week.