After the owner of Phil’s Fish Market declared Christmas ruined by the “domoic acid Grinch” that stole the crab season from fishermen and consumers alike in California (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Dec 21, 2015), the situation still looks dire for much of central and northern California crab fisheries. Domoic acid (DA) levels in surface waters have remained low during the transition into an El Niño winter, but this does not tell us much about what is going on at the bottom, near the sediments, where crabs live and forage. As discussed in a previous entry on the Dungeness crab crisis, the unpredictable component to forecasting how long the crab closure will go on for is our lack of knowledge on the size of the pool of DA toxin in the sediments. As the massive Pseudo-nitzschia bloom from the summer began to subside in the fall, at least in nearshore waters, the DA levels also began to decline in the water column. What this often means is that dead algal cells of Pseudo-nitzschia are sinking rapidly to the bottom sediments in the wake of the bloom, taking DA with them. Past research suggests that DA entering the bottom-dwelling food web can be very persistent, even if animals flush the toxin out fairly rapidly. If there is a lot of DA in the sediments, the cycle of contamination gets repeated again and again each time the animals feed. This year’s crisis appears to follow this pattern and be particularly long-lived given just how much DA was produced by the Pseudo-nitzschia population that grew continually over a 5-month long period. But then why did levels already fall in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties and along the San Luis Obispo coast? We know that levels of DA were not hugely high this year in SLO county and much of what our predictive modeling efforts showed for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties was high levels offshore, closer to the Channel Islands. Indeed, the Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel Islands are still off limits to crab fishing, despite the re-opening of the fishery in the rest of the region. As El Niño storms begin to stir up the water column and reduce light levels need for phytoplankton growth, we expect Pseudo-nitzschia populations will retreat to the subsurface and that toxins might also be mixed up and even transported elsewhere. Our HAB forecasting system suggests this decline is now a statewide phenomenon, with possible patches of DA in Southern California that so far have not been accompanied by visible ecosystem impacts.