SONOMA COUNTY (KRON) – The Dungeness crab season in the Bay Area is being delayed again.

The season was scheduled to start Friday, Nov. 22, a week later than the original start date of Nov. 15.

Officials said the new date for the start of crab season is now Dec. 15.

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham said in a statement Thursday that the Nov. 22 start date had posed “a significant risk of marine life entanglement” and that the “anticipated management response is a further delay.”

Officials said an aerial survey showed a higher number of whales in the area foraging near Point Reyes and Half Moon Bay, thus increasing the likelihood of whales and sea turtles getting caught in nets and traps.

Officials will conduct another aerial review to evaluate whale presence before the next anticipated start date of Dec. 15 and assess the risks.

Fishermen are warned that the crab season could be further delayed if crabs show up with domoic acid, that can be harmful to people.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within half an hour to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood; mild symptoms include headache, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea.

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