An unusually quiet summer day at the Port of Willapa Harbor in Tokeland, Washington. Normally, crabbing boats would be going out to set crab pots or returning with a fresh catch. But a toxic algae bloom has closed the crab harvest.

An unusually quiet summer day at the Port of Willapa Harbor in Tokeland, Washington. Normally, crabbing boats would be going out to set crab pots or returning with a fresh catch. But a toxic algae bloom has closed the crab harvest.

Ashley Ahearn, KUOW/EarthFix

Oregon and Washington fisheries managers announced Monday that commercial crab season will open Jan. 4.
 
That’s about a month later than it was scheduled to start. High levels of domoic acid in the Pacific Ocean had delayed the season.
 
Scientists suspect a lingering patch of warm water led to high levels of the toxin.
 
Kelly Corbett of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the state has been testing sites along the coast on a weekly basis.
 
“All areas that were tested for a third time in a row have all trended downward,” Corbett said.
 
The crab has been deemed safe for human consumption.
 
Oregon also immediately lifted closures on recreational crabbing.  Corbett says demoic acid testing results for clams and mussels are expected soon.  Recreational crabbing is open in all of Washington’s coastal waters and in Puget Sound, where marine toxins in crab have not been a problem.