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Crabbers are reminded that effective Jan. 1, 2020, all surface buoys used with recreational crab pots or rings must be marked to identify the owner of the gear.

The identifying information should include first and last name or business name and at least one of the following: permanent address, phone number, ODFW ID number, or vessel identification number. Be sure the identifying information is visible, legible and permanent. This new rule does not apply to crabbing gear used from piers, jetties or beaches.

Tags are not an acceptable substitute for marking buoys.

Buoy marking will help crabbers recover lost gear and help ODFW identify which fisheries experience lost gear. The Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the new rule in September as part of a larger rule package that also included additional gear requirements for commercial crab and other fisheries. Until now, Oregon was the only state on the west coast that did not have a rule requiring recreational crabbers to mark their buoys.

While other aspects of crab gear are not required by rule, ODFW strongly encourages the use of sinking line, durable buoys, escape rings, and destruct mechanisms like untreated cotton line.

Currently, crabbing is open along the entire Oregon Coast and winter can be a popular time to crab. Recreational crabbers will need a 2020 shellfish license to crab beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Crabbers are reminded to always call the Oregon Department of Agriculture Shellfish Hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA recreational shellfish biotoxins closures webpage to check for closures before crabbing.

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