PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregonians will have to wait at least a few more weeks for locally-caught Dungeness crab as the commercial crab season has been further delayed along the entire Oregon coast.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday the season won’t open until at least Dec. 31 because tests show crabs are still too small.
Crab season is set to start each year on the first of December, but delays are not uncommon. If crabs don’t meet certain standards for meat yields by the set date, officials will let them stay in the ocean — uncaught — to let them fill with more meat.
The thinking here is to avoid unnecessary waste of the creatures and to make sure customers are buying high-quality product.
Officials will keep testing the crabs and decide if the season can open on Dec. 31. Another option they’re considering is splitting the coastal region in half with each section opening on different dates.
While consumers won’t be able to buy crab commercially caught off Oregon for the time being, officials stress that crabs and shellfish sold in retail markets and restaurants are still safe.
You can find out more about crab closures by calling the ODA shellfish safety information hotline at 800.448.2474 or by visiting the ODA shellfish closure web page.