As foretold back in November, Dungeness crab remains something you do not want to be eating out of local waters this season, and an update advisory from the state Public Health Department confirms you still do not want to be eating them. The Chronicle reports that the latest word, via tests of crab off the California coast, is that Dungeness found off the Santa Barbara and Ventura coast are now safe, with some caveats, but anything north of there is still a no-go.
The reason for the closing of crab season, if you missed it, was a red algae bloom in the Pacific brought on by warmer than usual temperatures in the bloom is a phytoplankton that produces domoic acid, which is a neurotoxin that's incredibly dangerous to mammals and cannot be cooked away.
Even in the new advisory, people are advised not to eat the internal organs of fresh-caught crab, and to boil or steam them rather than frying or broiling.
Domoic acid poisoning can set in within thirty minutes or as much as a day after eating tainted shellfish or crustaceans.
And just a reminder...
Officials said the most severe cases [of domoic acid poisoning] can result in trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.
It remains to be seen if crab season in the Bay Area will even happen this year at all. Thus, all Dungeness crab you may be seeing on menus has likely been coming from far to our north, like Alaska.