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Commercial crab season on hold until Jan. 15

COOS BAY — The commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open on most of Oregon’s coast on Jan. 15, however recreational crab harvesting resumed on the South Coast.

While the commercial season can open as early as Dec. 1, the opening can be delayed to ensure a high quality product for consumers by allowing crab more time to fill with meat.

Prior to the opener, crab vessels may set gear from Jan. 12 onward, using the “pre-soak” period of time to set gear in anticipation of the first pull of ocean crab pots on Jan. 15.

The recreational crab fishery in Oregon is already open in this same region (Cape Blanco north to the Columbia River). The area south of Cape Blanco will remain closed to both recreational and commercial crabbing due to persisting domoic acid in the region. Continued testing will determine when this closed area can reopen.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and ODFW announced that recreational crabbing is now open from Cape Blanco, north of Port Orford, to the Columbia River. Crab samples taken from the area indicate that levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid have dropped below the alert level.

This reopening of the recreational season applies to crab harvested in the ocean and in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.

All Oregon crab product on the market is safe to eat. according to ODFW.

Commercial Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable fishery. Last year’s season opening was also delayed but still brought in the record high ex-vessel value of $62.7 million, with 20.4 million pounds landed (about 22 percent above the 10-year average).

For more information about Oregon’s shellfish marine biotoxin monitoring, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448‐2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx.


Local
Coos Bay boat owners are seeking a gate for the boardwalk
Coos Bay boat owners want to prevent future property crimes

COOS BAY — Coos Bay boat owners are taking a stand against crime.

Of the 23 boats docked at the boardwalk harbor, five have been broken into throughout the past year. Though this isn’t a substantial number compared to home break-ins in the area, it’s enough for them.

“I’ve been here 20 years or so and I can only think of one other break in we’ve had,” said Fred Fisher, marina host for the Coos Bay Boardwalk. “Really if you think of the boats as a city block, five break-ins is sizable.”

Fisher’s boat was broken into back in March, but others like The Shameless' were cleaned out after being burglarized. Other boats lost a couple thousand dollars-worth of items, valuables that Fisher said could be sold online.

“My neighbor’s boat was broken into and I caught him,” Fisher said. “He had moved everything in too. The owners didn’t do anything to him, he was homeless, but I don’t know about the rest if they are or not. A lot of them are probably tweakers.”

Not only that, but some of the boats are federally documented which means they operate under federal law. Fisher has caught transients sitting on boats that didn’t belong to them and were “smoking pot.”

Bethany Baker, The World 

Fred Fisher, the marina host for the Coos Bay Boardwalk, stands in the doorway of his 61-foot salmon and tuna troller "Tralee" at the Coos Bay Boardwalk on Tuesday. Fisher, a commercial fisherman for over forty years, found his boat broken into in March 2016.

“If pot ends up on a boat, the boat can be seized by the federal government,” Fisher said. “I found a guy smoking pot on a boat owned by a 90-year-old WWII veteran. If that guy had been caught, it would be the veteran who lost his boat. He stood to lose it, he stood to lose his livelihood. That guy put that boat in jeopardy by being on it.”

Fisher has been a commercial fisherman for most of his life and docked up and down the west coast from Southern California to Northern Washington. Every harbor he has docked at had some kind of security, all but the one in Coos Bay.

“Most docks have gates on them and you can put a camera on the dock, but all you’re going to do is get the picture of the top of someone’s hoodie as they pack your stuff off,” he said. “We have to put gates on the dock so they can be closed at night and open in the day. It is a preventative measure against crime.”

Fisher added that he and the other boat owners are even willing to put it up themselves either physically or financially if given permission, but want to see their property protected.

“There’s plenty of cooperation to put a gate up,” he said. “It’s a situation that isn’t getting better. We don’t live in La La Land anymore and we don’t have the respect for other people’s stuff like we used to. This is all we have.”

Fisher plans to approach the city council with the issue again.

Coos Bay Police Capt.Chris Chapanar told The World he hasn’t noticed a spike in boats being broken into, but did have advice for boat owners.

“Just like for home owners, I encourage people to keep your boats locked,” he said. “Any valuable items, make sure they aren’t in plain view or in unsecured areas on the vessel. If you’re gone for a period of time, share that information with a neighbor your trust to keep an eye on your stuff while you’re away.”


Local
Coos Health and Wellness promotes breastfeeding outreach
County agency hopes to spread education and support for new moms in the workplace

COOS COUNTY — Coos Health and Wellness encourages breastfeeding in the workplace.

The agency received a $13,000 grant from the Oregon Health Authority for maternal, child and infant health. Americore Vista employee Amber Madigan was hired by Coos Health and Wellness to work on the breastfeeding promotion in Coos County.

“The one focus area we picked for the grant was breastfeeding, specifically in the workplace when mothers return to work,” Madigan said. “When you look at the initial breastfeeding rates, Coos County does very good with 91 percent but decreases after that.”

Madigan pointed out that the World Health Organization’s recommendation is for mothers to exclusively breastfeed during the first six months.

“Coos County’s initial numbers are good, but after that it is a lot lower,” Madigan said. “We want to tackle trying to make workplaces more breastfeeding friendly so moms feel like they can continue to breastfeed when they return to work. It’s very important.”

Benefits to breastfeeding can decrease ear infections, lower respiratory problems, decreases the chance for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, as well as lowers the chances for obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. For breastfeeding moms, it has been proven to lower breast and ovarian cancer risks, heart disease and postpartum depression.

In fact, some Oregon officials believe it is so important they are “trying to push through lesgislation,” said Florence Pourtal-Stevens, Coos Health and Wellness’s Public Health Administrator. “Workplaces with over 50 employees must provide space and reasonable break times to their returning moms.”

Madigan added that businesses with under 50 employees have to request exemption from the potential new law because they won’t automatically be counted.

Pourtal-Stevens explained that since receiving the grant, Coos Health and Wellness put together a peer support group last year for breastfeeding families called the “Lactation Club.”

“We ran the group once a month at the Coos Bay Library,” she said. “We’re suspending it now because we have a lot of transition in our staffing but hope to start it again or have a partner in the community pick it up. We realized there was a need for breastfeeding families to be supported in their journey.”

Since starting the outreach program with the grant, Madigan has sent out a survey to local businesses as a way to know more about breastfeeding in the county.

“We will look at the surveys as a way to see what they need to know more about in order to become more breastfeeding friendly,” Madigan said. “After collecting the results and analyzing them, we create a tool kit on how to establish more breaks in the right areas that follow the laws and give employees what they need to be supported in their breastfeeding.”

The survey is running until the end of December.

The resulting tool kit is a booklet with information on how to write supporting policies and what conversations need to be had with employees returning to work in order to give them proper support.

Last year, Coos Health and Wellness conducted a survey in the community to see how supportive people were for breastfeeding.

“The community is extremely supportive,” Pourtal-Stevens said. “We have over 90 percent of folks responding that they were supporting of breastfeeding moms and families.”

If you own a business or are an employee who wishes to take the workplace survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/6VZJ925.