CURRY COUNTY, Ore. —Wednesday morning, commercial crabbers along the Oregon coast can start pulling their pots! After nearly seven years, the Dungeness Crab season in Oregon is starting on schedule Wednesday.
Commercial fishermen say it’s been so long since they’ve started the season on time, it’s out of the ordinary for them. They say it means a huge revenue boost, and it comes at a great time.
“This is a bizarre year because it’s not the norm anymore to start December 1st,” said one commercial fisherman.
Dungeness Crabs are harvested in Oregon from December 1st to August 14th. But the season hasn’t started on time, since 2014.
Catalyst Seafood is on the port of Brookings harbor. For owner and commercial fisherman, Willy Goergen, crab is king!
“All kinds of crab dishes like a crab feast every day at our restaurant, you can come in and get a whole crab put in front of you, bib put on you, you can crack that crab and eat it,” said Goergen.
The delays have been difficult on Goergen and the industry, which contributes millions of dollars to our coastal communities. Much of the recent delays have been due to high levels of domoic acid found in the water, which can be hazardous. The size or quality of the meat also has played into delays.
“We had been harvesting prior 23 million, 20 million, 18 million, then last year we harvested about 12 million pounds, all those things led to it being a down year,” said a spokesperson with the Dungeness Crab Commission.
But this year is different. Tim Novotny with the commission says every port from the California border to the Washington border, passed meat quality and domoic acid tests.
“Right off the bat in the first round of tests the crab was looking outstanding, we’ll be able to get that crab coming in on December first,” said Novotny.
Goergen says his fisherman didn’t waste a minute, laying traps and getting out there early Wednesday. And he says, his customers are already asking for it.
“It’s exciting we get to pull out our crab menus, soon will have a full crab menu and then live sales also,” said Goergen.
The Oregon Crab Commission says it hopes seafood fans get out there, and support local businesses.