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Dungeness crab season set to open Jan. 4

The Associated Press

Shellfish managers say Oregon and Washington's commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open Jan. 4 after being delayed for a month.

The opening was delayed to conduct testing for marine toxins. Washington coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres says the results show toxin concentrations below the threshold set by the state, making the crab safe to eat.

Fishery managers along the West coast approved the January opening.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife marine resources program manager Caren Braby says the crab industry has been cautious about opening this season. But testing of crab in recent weeks show the elevated levels of domoic acid in the southern half of the state have decreased and are all below U.S. Food and Drug Administration alert levels for three sample periods in a row.

Commercial crab boats will move out Jan. 1 as boats are allowed to set gear three days prior to the fishery opening. The recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon’s bays and ocean is currently open coastwide.

As the season gets underway, state agencies will continue to monitor marine biotoxins in shellfish to ensure that the concentrations remain below the alert level to ensure the consumer safety.