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Locals catch crab as commercial crabbing delays again

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SAMOA, Calif. - Another delayed commercial Dungeness crab fishing season in Humboldt County has prompted locals to dust off their gear and go crabbing themselves.

Eureka's dock manager for Wild Planet, Jeff Huffman, said they have not started commercial crabbing on-time in years.

"We haven't started on time in the last four years," Huffman said,

Chin-Nu Thal and his family did some post-holiday fishing on the North Jetty near Samoa.

"We never know what to expect out here so it's a lucky day we caught one crab so far," Thal said.

He said after about an hour, they caught three crabs, but that they lost two while snaring them in. In the end, they went home with one adult Dungeness crab.

"We like to use squid, a lot of people use chicken or other type of bate but for us so far, I guess our own opinion, squid works really well," Thal said.

Also fishing on the jetty were a group of Humboldt State University students. Ashton Pollack said he began fishing when he was about 10 years old.

However, before gearing up, there are state regulations and an advisory to consider.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) set a limit for recreational Dungeness Crab fishing to 10 crabs per day. The department also set a minimum size limit to prevent fishing of juvenile crabs. Crab can be taken home if it meaures at least 5.25 inches across.

The state's department of public health also recommend removing the crab's internal organs, or viscera, before cooking. State officials said they found high levels of domoic acid in these parts of the animal, which is known to cause symptoms similar to food poisoning.

But locals are enjoying the freshness of the crab they're catching.

Pollack said, "It is super nice to catch your own food, we like to salmon fish as well, right away catch it and bring it home and cook it, all within three hours.

Recreational Dungeness Crab fishing season will remain open until July 30, while the commercial season is expected to begin Jan. 15.

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