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Oregon Coast Dungeness Crabbing Reopens on New Year's Eve

Published 12/26/2019 at 5:35 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Dungeness Crabbing Reopens on New Year's Eve

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(Newport, Oregon) – The Oregon coast will open up to commercial Dungeness crabbing soon, starting up again on December 31 - cause for more celebration on the last day of the year. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) made the announcement last week. (Historical photo above courtesy Newport's Lincoln County Historical Society).

Oregon restaurants and consumers will be happy once more as the tasty coastal delicacy returns to menus and seafood vendors.

Prior to the opener, crab vessels will set gear from December 28 onwards, using the “pre-soak” period of time to set gear in anticipation of the first pull of ocean crab pots just before the new year.

Normally, the ocean commercial Dungeness crab season opens along the Oregon coast on December 1, but delays can occur when state officials deem it necessary to maintain a high-quality product and to avoid wastage of this food resource. Officials tested crab meat recovery in late November and early December along what is called the Tri-State area (Washington, Oregon and California). ODFW said marine experts found the region did not yet meet the criteria for the standard opening. The delay was implemented to ensure crabs would fill up more after the fall molting. Subsequent tests revealed most marine areas actually exceeded meat recovery criteria.

Crab were also tested for domoic acid along the entire Oregon coast, Washington coast and California, and all samples were found to be safe for human consumption. However, due to elevated levels of domoic acid detected in razor clams in some areas, testing in Dungeness crab will continue regularly south of Heceta Head.

ODFW said 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) 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.

There have also been changes along the Washington coast: State Officials Open Up Areas of Washington Coast to Crabbing, Razor Clams Good news is in store for Washington coast clam diggers and crabbers

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Photos below courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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