For the first time since the 2014-15 season, the ocean commercial Dungeness crab fishery opens as scheduled Dec. 1 along the Oregon Coast.
Commercial crab vessels were able to set gear Nov. 28. the pre soak period, in anticipation of the first pull of ocean crab pots on Dec. 1.
The Coast Guard is urging commercial fisherman and women to prepare with vessel safety in mind to prevent maritime emergencies and to carefully check bar crossing conditions.
Marine investigators from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland have responded to over 200 marine casualties so far this year with a large portion of those incidents involving commercial fishing vessels.
The Coast Guard reminds all mariners that when unsafe conditions exist at the bar, the Coast Guard will prohibit the passage of recreational and uninspected passenger vessels based on their size. When the conditions exceed operating parameters of Coast Guard search and rescue resources, the bar will be closed, and no vessels can cross unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port.
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 our 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, 2021 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 dollars.
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 currently 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.