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Recreational Crabbing Back Open On South Oregon Coast - All of Coast Now Open

Published 05/15/23 at 5:22 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Recreational Crabbing Back Open On South Oregon Coast - All of Coast Now Open

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(Winchester Bay, Oregon) – As of late last week, recreational crabbing is back open along the entire Oregon coast, after being shut down for a time between Winchester Bay and Cape Blanco. Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) made the announcement, saying all bays, estuaries and the ocean can once again continue the crustacean-gathering fun. (Above: Coos Bay, courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast)

The shut-down on May 1 was due to high levels of domoic acid, taking place from eight miles north of (43° 47' at Tahkenitch Creek) to Cape Blanco (42° 50'). That included hotspots such as Bandon, Charleston and Coos Bay.

Test samples are done every two weeks, dependent on Oregon coast tides and conditions. To reopen an area requires two consecutive clear samples. Recent results showed the naturally-occurring biotoxin below the alert level.

“Domoic acid is produced by algae and originates in the ocean,” ODFW said.

Shutting down recreational crabbing is to prevent people getting sick from the marine toxin. Domoic acid is an increasingly problematic occurrence along the Oregon coast. The exact same area from Winchester Bay down through Cape Blanco was shut down to recreational crabbing late last year as well.

Still, ODFW said you should take some precautions.

“It is recommended that recreational crab harvesters always eviscerate crab before cooking,” ODFW said. “This includes removing and discarding the viscera, internal organs and gills.”

Always call ODA's shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800)448-2474 or visit their webpage before crabbing to get the latest information on closures - at this link.

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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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