By Ron Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A popular holiday tradition could be put on hold this year after concerns over a deadly toxin scare have delayed the start of the dungeness crab season.

Health officials say the toxin, likely brought on by warming ocean temperatures, has sickened or killed seabirds, seals and whales throughout the region.

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Sunh Fish Seafood Market has been in business for 30 years, supplying dozens of restaurants in the region with the day’s fresh catch.

“This is the first year we’ve ever experienced this with Dungeness crab,” said owner Nguyen Pham.

He says crab is king here.

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“Last year we did over a hundred thousand pounds of crab,” he said. “That’s about $600,000 or $700,000 of sales for us.”

State officials are delaying the recreational dungeness crab season because of dangerous levels of toxins found in the popular crustacean. The season allows anyone to fish along ocean waters, including bays and estuaries, looking for the crabs.

Pham says it’s not time for him to panic though, and that he believes crab vendors must diversify, or die.

“Sometimes adjustments are made at the last minute and it shuts down seasons but it’s just part of the business that’s what it is. I grew up in it and you just have to find different ways to do things,” he said.

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The commercial crab season is still slated to begin on Nov. 15, though state officials may delay that season as well.