As you can see, we have a “boat load” of crab fishermen still tied up at the docks with nowhere to go. The domoic acid issue continues to delay a timely start to the crab season. Under the rules, the fleet won’t be released to start scooping up what we have heard are plentiful big fat crab off the coast until the domoic acid levels are back to low levels. The latest samples were delivered to the testing lab in Astoria today so we’re back to waiting. Last week’s tests were fine. If this week’s samples are good then there’s a chance they’ll open up the season. But the question is when. The lab tests will probably be announced Monday or Tuesday. But even if they get an “all clear,” it will still likely be five days to a week before dock prices and fishing area negotiations are settled. So it’s looking like it’ll be the last week of the month before they get out there.
Looking back on the history of the crabbing industry, between domoic acid, the weather and not being able to come to an agreement with fish plants right away, crabbing starts are frequently late in December, even well into January. So based on all the variables, the crabbers are still within “the zone.”
Again, we should know more Monday or Tuesday.