NEWPORT — The start date for the Oregon commercial crab season hangs on a single remaining test for meat content that must be conducted off of Long Beach, Wash. before operators can splash their gear. Additionally, the coast will be split into two fishing areas, with a further delay in effect south of Cape Arago in Charleston to protect crab that still
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced it will open the central and north coast season with a gear pre-soak starting Dec. 31. Under the plan, crabbers are allowed to begin harvesting at 9 a.m. on Jan. 3. But that's only if tests can be conducted in Long Beach by Dec. 28 just to make sure the crab up there is ready.
There's a very good chance the tests will be done in time following a period of severe weather that kept boats at the dock, according to Troy Buell,
If the Washington crab
But if the boats can't get out in time to test Washington or in the unlikely event the crab tests below the meat criteria, the delay automatically extends to Jan. 15.
An additional closure zone separates the crab with domoic acid from the ones which will be harvested. That helps assure the domoic acid doesn’t enter the supply of harvested crab as the creatures move around the coast.
“The buffer area is a policy by the Oregon Department of Agriculture because we’re not clear on the dynamics of how the toxin moves,” Buell said.