The Pacific coast's Dungeness crab season opened as scheduled Thursday, amid health concerns from last week's oil spill.
Despite the request to suspend all fishing for at least 2½ weeks, the state announced Wednesday only San Francisco Bay and three miles of Pacific coast would be closed. That leaves most commercial Dungeness crab fishery open, prompting fears that even one contaminated crustacean could hurt the entire market.
"This is an absolute disaster," said Larry Collins, who heads the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association. "We're all stunned. It's absolutely irresponsible."
Miles of beaches remained closed after the Hong Kong-based Cosco Busan hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in heavy fog on November 7, spilling 58,000 gallons of oil into the bay.
Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano said his agency consulted with all sectors of the fishing industry before deciding which areas should be closed.
"All of us were concerned about the human health issue." Martarano said, "there was a wide range of opinion, and we took everything into consideration."