It's Two Weeks Into Dungeness Crab Season...Why Are Crabbing Vessels Still Docked?

Dec 31, 2020

The commercial Dungeness crab season officially opened through most of Oregon’s coast on December 16th.  But there’s no crabbing going on…yet.

A fishing vessel leaving Newport, February 2017.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Currently, processors and crab fishermen haven’t worked out an opening price for the popular crustacean.  Until then, the docks from the southern Oregon border up to Cape Falcon are pretty dormant. 

Tim Novotny is with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission.  He says heavy weather patterns off the coast are also keeping crab boats at bay.

A crab harvest in progress.
Credit www.theoceanharvest.com

“These storms off the coast produce these large swells and they make it very treacherous to get out through the bars," explained Novotny.  "We had a series of those in January (2019), and it kept a big chunk of the fleet from getting out. And that’s kind of what we’ve been seeing all of a sudden in mid-December right about the time the season started.”

Novotny says he can’t comment on the pricing negotiations, but feels certain a deal will be reached soon that’ll start crabbing operations in good time. Crabbing north of Cape Falcon is delayed due to domoic acid levels.

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