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 Oregon/Washington border starting January 1, 2017.
Fishery managers and food safety specialists consistently exercised caution in opening the crab season this year due to elevated levels of domoic acid found in crabs along Oregon’s central coast. The almost month-long delay in opening the season allowed for additional testing for domoic acid to provide confidence that crab harvested from Oregon waters are safe to consume and of excellent quality.
“Along with the state agencies, the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry has taken a very proactive and precautionary approach to the opening of this crab season in the interest of public safety and consumer confidence in a high quality product” says Caren Braby, ODFW Marine Resources Program Manager.
Testing of crab in recent weeks show the elevated levels of domoic acid in the central section of the state have decreased and are all below U.S. Food and Drug Administration alert levels for at least two sample periods in a row.
Commercial crab boat lights will start dotting the horizon in the central and northern portions of the state on December 29 as boats are allowed to set gear three days prior to the fishery opening. The recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon’s bays and ocean is currently open coastwide.
As the crab fishery in these areas get underway, state agencies will continue to monitor marine biotoxins in shellfish to ensure concentrations remain below the alert level for consumer safety.
For more information about Oregon’s shellfish marine biotoxin monitoring, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448‐2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.