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Local News: Commercial Dungeness season opening delayed

The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season will be delayed from Dec. 1 until at least Dec. 16 along the entire Oregon coast, as testing shows crabs are too low in meat yield. 

The target opening of the ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers. Crab quality testing in early November showed that none of the test areas met the meat yield criteria for a Dec. 1 opening. The delayed opening will allow crabs to fill with more meat. 

A second round of crab quality testing will occur in late November or early December, and the results will be used to determine if the season should open Dec. 16, be further delayed, or be split into areas with different opening dates.

In conjunction with the delayed ocean commercial season, commercial harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon bays that are currently open will close at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 1, but may reopen if the ocean commercial fishery opens in December.

Recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in the ocean off Oregon will open Dec. 1 as scheduled in all areas. Recreational crab harvesting is currently open coastwide in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) or visit ODA’s Recreational Shellfish page for closures before crabbing.

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.

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