Crabbing in Willapa Bay and south of Point Chehalis reopens

WDFW – Crabbing in Willapa Bay and south of Point Chehalis is back open after sampling indicated a drop in marine toxins.

The WDFW says that effective immediately, recreational Dungeness crab fisheries on the Washington coast from areas south of Point Chehalis will reopen to crab fishing, including Willapa Bay. 

Inside the Columbia River, inside Grays Harbor, and coastal areas north to Cape Flattery also remain open for crabbing.

The WDFW says fishery managers are able to reopen these areas after testing showed domoic acid levels in crab met standards for safe consumption.

“We are hoping that the drop in marine toxin levels holds, and our recreational fishers will have plenty of opportunity to put some crabs in pots,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

Recreational crab fishing has been closed over recent months in many areas due to marine toxins. Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful and even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.

“WDFW, working closely with the Department of Health, will continue marine toxin sampling in all marine areas,” said Ayres.

Crabbing in marine areas east of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line; including that portion of MA 4 (Neah Bay) and all of MAs 5-13 in Puget Sound remain closed. At this time, razor clam digs throughout Washington also remain closed.

Harvesters can find up-to-date information on seasons and shellfish safety information on the Washington Shellfish Safety Map webpage. More information about domoic acid can be found on WDFW’s domoic acid webpage.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities.