NEWPORT – Dungeness crab is back on the menu for holiday feasts as commercial crabbing opens Dec. 15 along most of the Oregon coast.
Fishery managers made the decision Thursday to open the ocean to crabbing along the Oregon coast from the Columbia River to just north of Gold Beach (42°26’00” N. Lat.). The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon normally opens Dec. 1, but was delayed this year because crab did not meet minimum pre-season quality testing.
The testing measures the percentage of meat in the crab, by weight. Fishery managers can delay the season to allow the crab to fill with more meat and ensure a high-quality product to consumers.
Recreational harvest of crab in the ocean off Oregon was also delayed. On Dec. 15 sport crabbers may pursue the tasty crustaceans on all but the southern part of the coast from just north of Gold Beach (42°26’00” N. Lat.) to the California border. Recreational boaters may catch crabs north of the line and then return to Gold Beach.
The recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon’s bays and estuaries is open year round.
The closed portion of the coast will open to sport and commercial harvest beginning Jan. 15.
Commercial crabbers are allowed to set their gear three days before the season opens, so ocean watchers will see the lights of crab boats off most of the coast as early as Monday (Dec. 12).