The opening of the ocean commercial Dungeness crab season from Point Arena, Calif., north will be delayed at least through Dec. 15 to allow crab quality to improve.

The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season along the Oregon coast normally opens on Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and avoid wastage of the resource. Crab quality testing in early November showed the majority of test areas coast wide did not meet minimum preseason test criteria. Fishery managers in Oregon, Washington and California met and decided to delay the opening.

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

The delayed opening date will allow for the crab to fill with more meat and provide the three states with more information for setting an appropriate commercial crab season opening schedule.

In conjunction with the delayed ocean commercial season, commercial harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon bays will close at 12:01a.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. Recreational harvest of crab in Oregon’s bays will remain open.

Image courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

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