Idel

Crab pots stand idle along the bay front in Brookings.

The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season along the entire Oregon Coast will be delayed until at least Dec. 31 following testing that shows crabs are still too low in meat yield in half of the areas along the coast.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had announced on Nov. 14, the season would be delayed until Dec. 16 due to the low meat yield.

The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is targeted to open Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and to avoid wastage of the resource. Crab quality testing in late November and early December showed that many areas within the Tri-State region still did not meet the criteria for an opening. The delayed opening will allow for crabs to fill with more meat.

Testing will continue to determine if the season should open Dec. 31, be further delayed, or be split into separate areas with different opening dates. In conjunction with the delayed ocean commercial season, commercial harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon bays is now closed for the remainder of the year.

Commercial Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable fishery. Last year’s delayed season opening still brought in the second highest ex-vessel value ever $66.7 million with 18.7 million pounds landed, just above the 10-year average.

Recreational crab harvesting is currently open coastwide in the ocean, bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline at 800-448-2474, or check ODA’s Recreational Shellfish webpage, for closures before crabbing.

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