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Commercial Dungeness Crab Starts on Half of Oregon Coast

Published 12/06/23 a 5:25 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Commercial Dungeness Crab Starts on Half of Oregon Coast

(Newport, Oregon) – After low meat yields delayed the commercial crabbing season on the Oregon coast, a little more than half of the region's waters are set to open on December 16. Originally expected to open December 1, the Dungeness crab fishery was delayed as a whole, and now the area from Cape Foulweather to the California border will get the green light. (Photo of crab fleet off Cannon Beach courtesy Tiffany Boothe / Seaside Aquarium)

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Testing done by Oregon seafood and wildlife officials had shown that meat was not yet thick enough in the crab population offshore - as they also tested for biotoxins. To prevent waste and to ensure that consumers get a better quality product, the traditional opening of December 1 can be delayed.

Now, crab experts are testing in the region from Cape Foulweather northward to the Washington coast border, with next rounds to determine if that area can open on December 31 or if it will be further delayed.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) works with the commercial crab industry, the Oregon Dungeness Commission and Oregon Department of Agriculture on determining what's next for the crab fishery. They test six major crabbing ports along the Oregon coast

ODFW posts the latest updates on crabbing regulations and testing on its website.

Last year, a lingering biotoxin issue plagued the industry.

“During the 2022-23 season, the commercial Dungeness crab season was delayed and opened in stages due to low meat yield biotoxin levels above the safety threshold,” ODFW said. “Commercial fishermen landed over 31.5 million pounds of crab at an ex-vessel value of $85 million.”

Recreational crabbing in bays, estuaries, docks, piers and jetties is open all along the region. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage before crabbing.

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Satellite view of Oregon crabbing fleet glowing at night off the coast

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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Keywords: crabbing, Oregon coast, Washington coast, science