Scenes like the one pictured on the left should become fairly common sometime around mid-December. Crab specimen test results last week showed healthy crab without high levels of domoic acid that has thus far put the kabosh on the start of the crab harvest for commercial fishermen. If test results from the latest sampling also prove “clean” then commercial crabbing could begin around the middle of December.
Under the rules of commercial crabbing, processors, marketers and fishermen must first analyze the market for crab and where crab is possibly most plentiful, along with starting “on-the-dock” prices for crab landed at seafood processing plants. That analysis can take up to a week to shake out before everyone heads out to sea. Again, that’s if this latest batch of crab samples come out clean. Conventional wisdom is that one week of a clean sweep, like they had last week from Coos Bay to Astoria, means there is likely to be a second clean sweep as well. Those results are due out by Friday.
It is very common along the Oregon Coast for the crab season to be several weeks late due to factors like weather, meat content of the crabs and opening prices.