Dungeness crab season opens in northern Oregon, southern Washington
The Dungeness crab season in central and northern Oregon and southern Washington has started after a month of delays.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the opening, indicating that the crab will be ready from Cape Arago to the Columbia River and north into Washington. Currently, the fishery is in the “pre-soak” period where fishermen can set their gear in anticipation of pulling their first pots on the official opening day, 4 January.
The fishery starts following an extensive delay, after tests showed that the meat yield of the crabs was too low.
“The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is targeted to open [1 December], but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and to avoid wastage of the resource,” Oregon DFW wrote. “Crab quality testing in late November and early December showed that multiple areas within the Tri-State region still did not meet the criteria for an opening.”
Parts of the fishery in the south of Oregon, from Cape Blanco to the border with California, are still closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid and poor meat quality. However, recreational fishing in the region will open.
This is the second year in a row that the commercial Dungeness crab season was delayed. Despite that, last year the fishery – Oregon’s largest in terms of value – still brought in the highest value ever at USD 74 million (EUR 65.1 million) at a landing weight of 23.1 million pounds, 31 percent higher than the 10-year average.