Fishery managers in Oregon and Washington are delaying the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season by two weeks.
The season usually starts December 1 — unless testing shows that the crabs aren’t quite ready. This is based on what’s called the pick-out rate — which refers to the quality and quantity of meat that’s picked out of test crabs up and down the coast.
Darus Peake is a crab fisherman in Garibaldi. He’s also on Oregon Fish and Wildlife’s Dungeness crab advisory panel.
Oregon’s Dungeness crab industry can be a $40-billion business. But Peake says it’s hard to predict.
As for this year he says, “The quality of the crab that we have seen has been good. The quantity has not been exceptional, but then again crab are up and down every year.”
Peake says delaying the start of the season can help ensure the crabs fill with meat and ultimately provide a better product.
Last year’s season didn’t open until Dec. 31.
Recreational crab harvesting off Oregon’s coast is expected to open as scheduled on December 1.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season in California is also delayed. In a press release issued late Monday, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said crab season will open as scheduled on December 1 north of the Mendocino County line.