Commercial crabbing starts on the coast, just not our coast

After a month-long delay, the Dungeness crab season is set to open in Oregon, but Coastal Washington is still under a delay.

Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will open the crabbing season for the central and northern coast, although industry experts say these delays appear to be a trend and they hurt coastal communities.

Fishermen from Cape Arago, Oregon north to Klipsan Beach, WA can begin pulling their pots on Friday. It was supposed to open Dec. 1.

In the latest letter from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife on December 14, they stated that the commercial Dungeness crab fishery between Klipsan Beach and the Queets river is set to open at 9am on January 10, 2019.

Pre-season test results for the stations off Long Beach were completed on December 29 and showed that meat recovery was 27.9%, an improvement from the 22.8% when the crab were last tested in early December. The minimum meat recovery needed to open the fishery north of Cascade Head, Oregon is 23%.

Based on this recent test, the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee has agreed to open the commercial Dungeness crab season between Klipsan Beach, Washington and Cape Arago, Oregon at 9:00 am January 4, 2019, with a 73-hour gear set beginning at 8:00 am on January 1, 2019.

Fishers participating in the fishery south of Klipsan Beach or in Willapa Bay are subject to reduced pot limits until January 7th when the temporary pot limit is lifted.

Officials delayed the season for California to the Canada border because there wasn’t enough meat in the crabs. Rough weather also delayed testing.

If all goes well sellers say people might find crab in the markets by about Jan. 10.

 As described in the Tri-State protocols, fishers that chose to fish in an area that opens before another area are subject to fair state provisions.

FAIR START PROVISIONS:
Licenses and vessels designated to those licenses that fish (as defined by WAC 220-340-400) in the coastal commercial Dungeness crab fishery in the waters from Cape Arago, Oregon, to Klipsan Beach, Washington,
(including Willapa Bay) before January 10, 2019 are subject to the Fair Start Provisions described below.

Fair Start Provisions:

  • Klipsan Beach (46°28.00) to Oysterville (46°33.00): Licenses and vessels designated to those licenses that fish (as defined by WAC 220-340-400) in the fishery between Cape Arago, OR and Klipsan Beach, WA, including Willapa Bay, before the area north of Klipsan Beach opens will be allowed to fish in the area between Klipsan Beach and Oysterville at 8:00 am on January 20, 2019
  • Oysterville (46°33.00) to the U.S. – Destruction Island: Licenses and vessels designated to those licenses that fish (as defined by WAC 220-340-400) in the fishery between Cape Arago, OR and Klipsan Beach, WA, including Willapa Bay, before the area north of Oysterville opens will be allowed to fish in the area between Oysterville and Destruction Island at 8:00 am on February 14, 2019.
  • Cape Arago, Oregon ( 43º 17′ 00″ N. Lat.) to Point Arena, California: Licenses and vessels designated to those licenses that fish (as defined by WAC 220-340-400) in the fishery between Cape Arago, OR and Klipsan Beach, WA, before the area south of Cape Arago opens will be subject to the 30 day fair start based on the season opening date which is currently pending additional biotoxin testing.
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