ODFW to Consider Dungeness Crab Fishery Management Plan

Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab in a live hold. Photo via Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Oct. 15 adopted regulations implementing the Oregon Dungeness Crab Fishery Management Plan.

That plan describes the status of Dungeness crab and the department’s management of the bay and ocean commercial crab fisheries, and the bays and ocean recreational crab fishery. The conservation plan considered by the commission in September is limited to the ocean commercial sector and mitigation of entanglements of protected marine species.

Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife officials noted that Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery forms the economic backbone of commercial fishing activity along the Oregon coast, including tourism, recreational crabbing and the seafood industry. They said that the FMP provides a transparent reference for the rationale behind the department’s research, monitoring and regulatory approaches to sustainably managing Dungeness. Most of the regulations are already in place for the management described in the FMP.

There are several implementing regulations in the plan, including: a bay commercial logbook requirement; adjustments to late-season buoy tag allowances for the ocean commercial sector; biotoxin management adjustments; and fishing gear definitions within marine reserves that apply to crab and other commercial fixed gear fisheries.

Also during the meeting, the commission was told about a draft Rogue-South Coast Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan to guide management of winter steelhead, summer steelhead, coho salmon and cutthroat trout in coastal watersheds of southwest Oregon, from the Elk River south to the Winchuck River, including the Rogue River.

This draft plan was developed and revised after extensive engagement with stakeholder teams, habitat representatives, tribes, NOAA Fisheries, independent scientists, anglers and the general public, and has wide support, according to the ODFW.

A final plan is expected to be adopted during the commission’s Dec. 17 meeting.