State Fish and Wildlife officials announced Monday they will open Northern California to commercial Dungeness crab fishing on Sunday.

The season's opening could ease competition in Bodega Bay and other North Bay areas by drawing away some of the crews currently deployed below the Mendocino County line.

Commercial crab season started Nov. 15 for areas south of Point Arena.

But delays in the commercial crab seasons in Oregon and Washington means interest in the waters off Northern California will remain strong because anyone planning to move north will have to wait.

Each state mandates testing of the Dungeness crabs in a given fishery before officials will open it to commercial boats, a system designed to ensure the crustaceans have reached sufficient size and carry enough meat before they're plucked from their ocean.

Wildlife officials have postponed the commercial season north of the California-Oregon border until at least Dec. 16.

Additional testing will be conducted before officials announce if another delay will be ordered. That decision is expected by Dec. 7.