Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Make Dungeness Crab California’s Official Crustacean

Dungeness crab fishermen. File photo.

California State Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and other lawmakers in early January introduced legislation to recognize the Dungeness crab as California’s official crustacean, coinciding with its opening day, Jan. 5.

“Let’s recognize the importance of the Dungeness crab to our state, to the commercial fishing industry and the communities that depend on its health and abundance,” Wood stated.

Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) is the principal coauthor and Assemblymembers Dawn Addis (D-Morro Bay) and Gail Pellerin (D-Santa Cruz) are coauthors of the bill, titled AB 1797.

“The Dungeness crab is an iconic crustacean in California and one that has made a significant contribution to the economies of coastal communities in California and to those in the commercial fishing industry,” Wood said.

“The industry supports fishing ports and bolsters retail and hospitality businesses, bringing patrons to restaurants and inns,” Wood’s office said in a statement. “It is a key delicacy that is often in high demand when Californians ring in the New Year.”

“We must recognize, however, that the Dungeness crab industry is not without its challenges,” Wood added. “We need to ensure that the fishing industry, the ocean and its inhabitants are all protected.”

California has both commercial and recreational fisheries for Dungeness crab, with slightly different seasons within the two distinct management areas, divided north and south by the Sonoma/Mendocino County line.

“Maine has its lobster. Louisiana has its crawfish. Here in the Golden State, we love our Dungeness crab,” McGuire said. “Dungeness crab is one the oldest commercial fisheries in California and the fleet continues to be a driving economic force for coastal communities.”

“I’m grateful to Assemblymember Wood for giving the Dungeness crab a crack at becoming the official crustacean of the Golden State,” he continued. “It’s a well-deserved recognition.”