The crab industry off the coast of California has been put under a moratorium due to toxic waters.
Buttered Crab Brisket won’t be on the menu in Californian restaurants for now. Toxins in the waters off the coast of California have caused crab season to be delayed. Had the waters not been so poisonous, the crab industry would have begun its job of hauling in the creatures with their sharp pincers as soon as possible. But such is not the case. Safety comes first and so crab season has been put on hold for awhile.
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The variety of crabs found off the coast are called Dungeness Crabs. They undoubtedly make for delicious dining when properly cooked, but the situation at hand makes them unfit for consumption. A sort of algae is present in the waters in scads and it is excreting a toxin known as domoic acid in huge quantities.
This chemical substance causes neurotoxicity. It can easily reach a high concentration in shellfish and cause sickness. It may even kill if the shellfish are consumed in excess. So we definitely have a problem here that needs to be solved.
The food authorities have found high levels of domoic acid in many Dungeness crabs and rock crabs. They have thus requested the industry to close down for the time being. This is only an emergency procedure and is not meant to last for an extended period of time.
The commission which sat down to pass judgement on the whole shebang said that a delay would be in the best interests of all parties related to the issue. In fact, the orders not to fish for shellfish may be applicable starting from today and they carry the long arm of the law behind them.
Once conditions change, the fisheries will be back in business as usual.
"When it's clear, we'll get the fisheries open as soon as possible," Sonke Mastrup, the executive director of the California Fish and Game Commission, told the Sacramento Bee.
The algae concentrations last only as long as the heat wave remains. With the coming of cooler times, the algae automatically recedes and leaves the playing field that is the ocean intact. If there is anything that is bothersome, it is the livelihoods that are attached to the crab harvest industry.
Many people will have to seek other sources of income or go on a lean period of penury thanks to this scheme. The crab industry generates $60 million per year. Its delay in functioning this year might prove costly in terms of human resources.