Commercial crab season will likely be delayed until Jan. 15, as there is neither enough meat on the crustaceans nor are domoic acid levels decreasing as hoped.
While not uncommon, the season has already been delayed twice this year.
According to Troy Buell, the state fishery management program leader with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, Dungeness crab meat volume at Port Orford most recently tested at 18.7 percent and 21 percent in Brookings.
It needs to be at least 25 percent before it is considered worthy to fish. Only crab in the stretch from Newport to North Coos Bay had enough meat.
Domoic acid reports have also been coming back poor. The latest test was conducted Friday; results will likely be announced Thursday, Buell said.
Razor clams on the Rogue River have tested particularly high, at levels ranging from 30 to 41 parts per million, but numbers appear to be going down elsewhere. Domoic acid levels must be below 30 before the fishery can be considered for opening.
A tri-state conference will be held today to decide whether to open or delay the season again.
“At that point, we have some decisions to make on the season, based on the results of California,” Buell said. “But I don’t foresee anything but a Jan. 15 delay.”
Updates on the season and other crab information can be viewed at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/commercial/crab/season_weekly_updates.asp.
Reach Jane Stebbins at firstname.lastname@example.org.