With Price Deal Reached On Dungeness Crab, Vessels Are Headed To Sea

Jan 9, 2021

Three and a half weeks into Oregon’s commercial Dungeness Crab season, crab boats are  finally heading out to sea.

A fishing vessel leaves Yaquina Bay towards the open waters of the Pacific in this February 2017 photo.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Haggling over the opening price was the sticking point between processors and fishermen.  An agreement on $2.75 per pound was announced Friday night.

Dungeness crab being gathered for market.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Taunette Dixon of the Newport Fishermen’s Wives group says she can’t recall the last time negotiations went on this long.  But she’s hopeful the season goes well.

“For the fisherman who are risking their lives, that are out there sacrificing their time, their energy, their health, their safety…to bring seafood to the world.”

Lori Steele is executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association. She says the COVID-19 pandemic really hit the industry, starting in March 2020.

“We lost our restaurant market overnight.  And that was about 70 percent - or more in some cases - of where our markets were.”

Dixon adds that some boats will head out Saturday morning, though many are planning to hold out until January 14th when the weather is more favorable.

Dungeness Crab is Oregon’s biggest commercial fishing commodity.  10,000 tons of the crustaceans were harvested last year, valued at $72 million.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.