Commercial crab season to open Jan. 15

Commercial crab season to open Jan. 15.

Contributed photo by Jeff Sober

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.

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