The commercial fishery in the most northern section of the Oregon Coast has opened after a significant delay for the harvest of Dungeness crab.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said that the fishery, one of 12 such harvest areas in the state, opened yesterday, and will continue through Aug. 14.
Some 424 permitted vessels have access to the derby fishery.
According to DFW officials the area had remained closed to commercial crabbing to coordinate an orderly start with the Washington coastal Dungeness crab fishery. Results of recent testing of crab viscera, or guts, for the marine biotoxin domoic acid conducted by Washington state fisheries biologists indicate that levels of the biotoxin are still elevated in crab viscera. That said, until further notice all crab harvested from Point Chehalis, Washington to the Washington-Oregon border must have the viscera removed by a licensed crab processor prior to sale to ensure that crab going to market are safe for consumption.
All Dungeness crab tested from all Oregon crab harvest areas have been well below alert levels and determined to be safe to eat. The Oregon Department of Agriculture plans to continue to regularly test crab and shellfish to ensure that toxin levels in all areas remain below alert levels.
Crabbers fishing in this area were allowed to begin setting gear on Feb. 13, using the pre-soak period to set gear in anticipation of the first pull of ocean crab pots yesterday.
More information about Oregon’s shellfish marine biotoxin monitoring is available from the Oregon Department of Agriculture shellfish safety information hotline at 800-448-2474 and online at https://www.oregon.gov/oda/programs/foodsafety/shellfish/pages/shellfishclosures.aspx.