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Oregon commercial crab fishery opens Dec. 1

For the first time since 2014, commercial crabbers will start pulling crab pots on the traditional starting date of Dec. 1.

For the first time since the 2014-15 season, the ocean commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open as scheduled Dec. 1 along the Oregon Coast, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Commercial crab vessels can set gear Nov. 28 (the presoak period) in anticipation of the first pull of ocean crab pots on Dec. 1.

In partnership with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and the commercial Dungeness crab industry, ODFW tests crabs out of Oregon’s six major crabbing ports beginning in early November. This year, crab tested from Oregon’s crab harvest areas have high meat yield and are well below domoic acid alert levels.

Commercial Dungeness crab is one of Oregon’s most iconic and valuable fisheries, contributing millions to coastal communities. The commercial ocean Dungeness crab fishery opening has been delayed the past six seasons due to either low meat yield or domoic acid levels above the threshold for safe consumption.

Although last year the season was delayed in stages (harvest opened Dec. 16 south of Cape Falcon and Feb. 15 north of Cape Falcon), fishermen still brought in 12.2 million pounds of Dungeness crab coastwide with an ex-vessel value of $60.6 million.

Recreational Dungeness crab harvest in the ocean off Oregon also opens Dec. 1 as scheduled in all areas. Recreational crab harvesting in bays, estuaries and on beaches, docks, piers and jetties is open coastwide. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage before crabbing.

For more information about Oregon’s shellfish marine biotoxin monitoring, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at 800-448‐2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.