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The Columbia Press

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Ocean Dungeness crab season delayed

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The traditional Dec. 1 opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 along the entire Oregon coast, the Oregon Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday.

Testing shows crabs are too low in meat yield.

Commercial Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable fishery. Last year’s season opening also was delayed, yet still brought in the highest ex-vessel value ever ($74 million) with 23.1 million pounds landed, about 31 percent above the 10-year average.

Oregon’s season is targeted to open Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product for consumers and to avoid wasting the resource.

Crab quality testing in early November showed that the majority didn’t meet the criteria for a Dec. 1 opening.

A second round of crab quality testing will occur in late November or early December, and the results will be used to determine if the season should open Dec. 16.

Near-shore commercial and recreational harvesting is open in bays, estuaries and from jetties and piers north of Cape Blanco.

In conjunction with the delayed ocean commercial season, commercial harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon bays will close at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 1, but may reopen if the ocean commercial fishery opens in December.

The latest information on closures is available by calling the ODA shellfish safety information hotline at 800-448-2474.

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