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Ocean Crab Season Delayed

Updated: Nov 20, 2023


Crew of the Tommy John getting ready for crab season (photo by Kiera Morgan)

Pre-season testing shows Dungeness crabs are too low in meat yield in some ocean areas, delaying Oregon’s commercial season until at least Dec. 16. Targeted to open Dec. 1, Oregon’s ocean commercial Dungeness crab season can be delayed so consumers get a high-quality product and crabs are not wasted. The commercial bay crab fishery (currently open) closes at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 1 in conjunction with the delayed ocean commercial season. It will reopen when the ocean commercial season does so. The next round of crab meat yield and biotoxin testing will occur in the coming weeks. Results help determine if the season opens Dec. 16 or is further delayed or split into areas with different opening dates.


ODFW tests crabs out of Oregon’s six major crabbing ports in partnership with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), and the commercial Dungeness crab industry. Weekly season opening updates are posted online until the decision to open the season is made. Oregon, California and Washington coordinate Dungeness crab quality testing and the commercial season opening dates. California and Washington are delaying their commercial seasons until at least Dec. 16. A history of Oregon’s commercial crab landings is available online.


During the 2022-23 season, the commercial Dungeness crab season was delayed and opened in stages due to low meat yield biotoxin levels above the safety threshold. Commercial fishermen landed over 31.5 million pounds of crab at an ex-vessel value of $85 million. The recreational ocean Dungeness crab season is slated to reopen Dec. 1 as scheduled. Recreational crab harvesting in bays, estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties is currently open coastwide. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage before crabbing.




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