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Dungeness Crab Season Delayed Further on Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

Published 12/08/22 at 6:25 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Dungeness Crab Season Delayed Further on Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

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(Newport, Oregon) – There is more bad news for fans of Dungeness crab along the Oregon coast and Washington coast (as well as California), and it's not happy trails for local fishermen either. (Above: crab boats off Depoe Bay, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection).

Dungeness crab season for open-ocean commercial vessels remains closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid still found crab viscera (guts). Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) made the announcement this week, in tandem with similar authorities in California and along the Washington coast. All three states have their crab season delayed, as round two of pre-season crab testing indicates crab meat is still too low in some areas – on top of the biotoxin issues.

UPDATE: Recreational harvesting of Dungeness crab just reopened along the entire Oregon coast on Friday.

ODFW said round three of testing continues over the coming weeks, after the targeted opening date of December 1 failed to materialize. Now, officials in all three states are hoping for a December 31 opening, possibly for all areas or split into different areas with different openings.

NOAA satellite showing crab fleet off Oregon coast

Crab testing also looks at the quality of crab meat, and openings can get delayed because a high-quality product is not yet available for consumers, and bad catches would result in wasted crab.

You can see the tri-state crab quality testing protocols here, showing how California, the Oregon coast and Washington coast have their agreements and shared methodology. The territory runs from the U.S. / Canadian border down to near the edge of southern California.

Fishing vessel near Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection

Razor clamming for non-commercial purposes is also still closed on all of the Oregon coast and Washington coast due to domoic acid, a naturally-occurring biotoxin that is brought about because of certain kinds of algae in the ocean. This is until further notice as testing continues in both states.

ODFW tests crabs out of six major crabbing ports along the Oregon coast, partnering with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), and the commercial Dungeness crab industry.

A history of Oregon’s commercial crab landings is available online.

Visit the ODA Commercial Crab Biotoxin webpage for biotoxin information.

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Photos courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast: crabbing in Coos Bay

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