The opening date of the commercial Dungeness crab season north of Sonoma County will be delayed two more weeks, resulting in Jan. 15 kickoff, state officials announced Wednesday.
The season was originally set to begin Dec. 1 for Mendocino County and all parts north but has been delayed three times because crab have not developed enough meat for harvest, state officials said.
New crab tests for fishing grounds from Mendocino County north show the crustaceans still have less than 25 percent of their body weight as meat, according to the California Department of Fish and Game. A meat-to-body-weight ratio of at least 25 percent is ideal for harvest.
Fisheries officials said they expect the crab to meet that threshold by Jan. 15, the latest possible opening date under state regulations.
The commercial Dungeness season for Sonoma County south to Morro Bay opened Nov. 15.
— Brett Wilkison