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More of Oregon Coast Commercial Crabbing Opens Up

Published 12/21/23 at 7:05 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

More of Oregon Coast Commercial Crabbing Opens Up

(Newport, Oregon) – Another quarter section of Oregon coast has opened up to commercial crabbing, after the season as a whole was delayed due to state standards and biotoxins. As of December 31, the area from Cape Foulweather (near Depoe Bay) to Cape Falcon (near Manzanita) will be open to commercial Dungeness crabbing.

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A little more than half the coastline opened up on December 16, with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) delaying the targeted and traditional December 1 opening. Now what's left to open up will be the section just south of Cannon Beach to the Washington coast border.

ODFW said the quality of crab meat was not quite ready after testing was done.

“Pre-season testing shows crab meat yield remains too low to open commercial crab fishing from Cape Falcon to the Washington border,” ODFW said. “The next round of crab meat yield testing will help determine if this area can open Jan. 15, or Feb. 1, 2024, in coordination with southern Washington.”

The southern Washington coast Dungeness fishery also remains closed at this time.

“If both areas meet 23% meat recovery in a fourth round of testing these areas will open January 15th,” ODFW said on its website. “If one or both areas do not meet 23% meat recovery, both areas will open in coordination on February 1st.”

Crabbing fleet off Cannon Beach - Seaside Aquarium photo

While delays like this are more common in recent years, and such delays can induce hardships on local crabbers, many are saying this move makes for better quality crab meat in general. It is certainly a benefit to regional customers.

ODFW and ODA test six major ports along the Oregon coast. To prevent waste and to ensure that consumers get a better quality product, the traditional opening of December 1 can be delayed.

“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.”

Weekly updates on testing and decisions are available on the ODFW website.

Testing of Dungeness quality is coordinated along the entire West Coast, including Oregon, Washington and California.

Recreational crabbing is open along the entire Oregon coast.

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Below: Oregon's crabbing fleet seen at night by satellite

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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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