Fresh Oregon crab is back on the menu soon—the commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open along all of Oregon’s coast on Dec. 31, 2019. Prior to the opener, crab vessels will set gear from Dec. 28 onwards, using the “pre-soak” period of time to set gear in anticipation of the first pull of ocean crab pots just before the new year.
The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is targeted to open Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and to avoid wastage of the resource. Crab meat recovery testing in late November and early December showed that many areas within the Tri-State region still did not meet the criteria for an opening. The delayed opening has allowed for crabs to fill with more meat and all areas have now exceeded meat recovery criteria.
Recreational crab harvesting is currently open coastwide in the ocean, bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) for closures before crabbing. Commercial Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable fishery. Last year’s delayed season opening still brought in the second highest ex-vessel value ever ($66.7 million) with 18.7 million pounds landed, just above the 10-year average.