We’re starting to see lights at night on the horizon of the Pacific Ocean, which means the long wait is over, and our commercial crabbers are finally able to get out on the water and go after Dungeness crab.
The crab season could potentially start as early as Dec. 1 each year, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced in late November that the start would be delayed until at least until Dec. 16 because testing revealed crabs were too low in meat yield. Subsequent testing showed the crabs had filled out, and ODFW gave the green light for the season to begin on Dec. 16. But the boats remained in port as crabbers and seafood processing plants struggled to come to terms on a price. Finally, more than three weeks after the season opened, an agreement was reached. Boats started heading out over the weekend, and crabs are beginning to arrive in port.
The people who make up the commercial crabbing fleet work in some of the worst weather Mother Nature can throw at them. And this year is proving to be no different. The area is experiencing some pretty heavy rainfall, and during the first part of this week, there was also a high wind warning and a high surf advisory. Crabbing is generally a lucrative fishery, but they certainly earn their pay. We offer prayers for a safe and bountiful harvest for all of them.
Speaking of the fishing industry, we would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to Bud Shoemake for the years he has given as the general manager of the Port of Toledo. There are some great things that happened under his watch, first and foremost being the development of the port’s shipyard, which is a real asset for Lincoln County — and we anticipate more and more activity happening there in the future.
Shoemake was also instrumental in developing a welding lab in cooperation with Oregon Coast Community College and the Lincoln County School District, to train up the next generation of workers in that profession. He helped organize the first Wooden Boat Show 15 years ago, a well-attended event that continues to be a popular summertime attraction. He also had his hands in the development of Toledo’s Waterfront Park.
So thank you, Bud, for all you have done, and we wish you a happy retirement.
We also want to congratulate Lorna Davis on being named the port’s new general manager. Many people will remember her as being the face of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce for a number of years. We’re glad she is back in Lincoln County, and with her at the helm, we look forward to more good things coming out of the Port of Toledo in the future.