Oregon opens a portion of the coast for commercial Dungeness crabbing, extends recreational opening

NEWPORT, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) announce the opening of the commercial crab season from Cape Blanco (just north of Port Orford) to the OR/CA border is set for Dec. 18.

“We have consistently taken a very precautionary approach when opening our crab fisheries,” said Caren Braby, ODFW Marine Resources Program Manager.  “ Recent test results have consistently shown low biotoxin results on the southern end of the state and decreasing levels in ports north of this area indicating they are of excellent quality, safe for consumption and ready for harvest.”

The two agencies also announced the immediate opening of the recreational bay and ocean crab fishery from Tillamook Head (just south of Seaside) south to Cape Lookout (just south of Netarts Bay) effective Dec 10. Recent test results met the criteria to remove the shellfish health advisory in this area.  All recreational harvest from Tillamook Head north to, and including, the Columbia River remains open. All recreational harvest of Dungeness crab from Cape Lookout to Cape Blanco remains closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

“We are excited to be able to open up another section of the coast for recreational crabbing as we see biotoxin levels decrease and stay below alert levels, Braby said.  “We hope this trend will continue and allow us to open the remaining areas for recreational crabbing and commercial harvest soon.”

Opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season along the other areas of the Oregon coast is still delayed due to concerns about domoic acids levels in the central section of the coast. ODFW will continue to work closely with ODA and the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry to test crab in central section of the coast.  In close coordination with ODA, fishery managers from Washington and California and the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry, ODFW plans to evaluate options for opening the commercial season once additional domoic acid test results are available.

It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking.  Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills.

Despite the delay, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers.

Domoic acid or amnesic shellfish toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment. For more information on toxin closures, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448‐2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.




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