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Crab Season Delay

Fisherman ready crab pots Nov. 19 as they wait out a delay in the commercial Dungeness crab season opener in Charleston.

NEWPORT — The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season will be delayed until at least Dec. 31 along the entire Oregon coast as testing shows crab are still too low in meat yield in half of the areas along the coast.

The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is targeted to open Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and to avoid wastage of the resource. Crab quality testing in late November and early December showed that many areas within the tri-state region still did not meet the criteria for an opening, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The delayed opening will allow for crab to fill with more meat.

Testing will continue to determine if the season should open Dec. 31, be further delayed, or be split into separate areas with different opening dates, the release stated. In conjunction with the delayed ocean commercial season, commercial harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon bays is now closed for the remainder of the year.

Recreational crab harvesting is currently open coastwide in the ocean, bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers and jetties. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) or check ODA’s Recreational Shellfish webpage for closures before crabbing.

Commercial Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable fishery. Last year’s delayed season opening still brought in the second highest ex-vessel value ever ($66.7 million) with 18.7 million pounds landed, just above the 10-year average, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. 

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.

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