(Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife)

The start of commercial Dungeness crab season has been delayed until Dec. 15 for the fishery south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line due to the risk of marine life becoming tangled in fishing gear.

“No vessel may take, possess or land crab in an area closed for a significant entanglement risk,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in an announcement. “Fishing gear may not be deployed in any area closed to fishing.”

The decision by CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham was made after considering all recommendations and information submitted by the deadline Nov. 15.

The department said it continues to evaluate information as it comes in and will hold a meeting of the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group in early December to evaluate risk factors and determine if the fishery can be opened earlier.

More information on Dungeness crab is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov.