Tag Archives: Oregon

Storm clouds gather over local crabbing fleet

The morning was frozen, clear and calm, far better than many “dump days.” Sunday marked a first chance to start making some money after two months stuck in port. Most crabbers wouldn’t have been to bed overnight before placing their first pots. Some squeeze in more dump runs before Wednesday morning, Feb. 1, when a nearly nonstop frenzy of harvest and delivery will commence and last for weeks. With little or no sleep leading to exhaustion, the Dungeness fishery off Washington and Oregon is among the most dangerous jobs in the country. Winter weather and ocean conditions can be crazy. Fatalities are all too common, while crabbers barely bother mentioning all the back injuries, damaged fingers and a litany of other mishaps. Even so, there are plenty of local guys who don’t want it any other way. They see risk as the price of freedom. >click to read< 07:48

Go wild and get hooked at Ecola Seafood Restaurant and Market

Jay and Cindy first met in the summer of 1978. While Jay was attending Beaverton High School, at the age of 15 he and his friend John purchased a dory and began commercial fishing off the beach at Gearhart. They had no idea what they were doing, but followed a group of local fishermen as they launched into the surf. After living in other states, Cindy’s love of the north Oregon coast led her back to this area. They were married in 1991, with their first child Ashley born in 1994. In 1993 they were selling their catch to various businesses, including Ecola Seafood in Ecola Square Mall on Hemlock Street. The owners were tired and ready to call it quits. Jay and Cindy became the new owners of the small Ecola Seafood fish market and restaurant. >click to read< 09:47

Coast Guard pursues civil penalty for AIS violation

The Coast Guard is pursuing a civil penalty Friday with a maximum punishment of $41,093.00 against a commercial fishing vessel for violating Automated Identification System (AIS) regulations near the mouth of the Columbia River Dec. 3, 2022. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River detected a commercial fishing vessel deactivate its AIS while underway near the mouth of the Columbia River in violation of 33 Code of Federal Regulations 164.46(d)(2). The captain declined to accept the Notice of Violation, issued for $5,000. Now the case has been referred to a Coast Guard Hearing Officer, with a maximum penalty of $41,093.00. As this remains an active investigation, the Coast Guard is not currently releasing the name of the suspected violating vessel. >click to read< 19:29

Southern portion of Oregon’s commercial Dungeness crab fishery opens

Commercial Dungeness crab fishing opens Feb. 4 on the remaining southern portion of Oregon’s coastline from Cape Arago (just south of Charleston) to the California border. The earliest a crab season may start is Dec. 1 pending meat fill and biotoxin results. This year, the season opener was delayed due to crab in some areas with low meat fill or high domoic acid levels in crab viscera (guts). It opened Jan. 15 from Cape Falcon to Cape Arago and opens Feb. 1 from Cape Falcon to the Washington border. While the announcement today opens the season Feb. 4 from Cape Arago south, the BMZ location and timing will be dependent on results of on-going biotoxin testing. >click to read< 07:41

How valuable, and volatile, crabbing can be along the Oregon Coast

On a calm morning last May, the three-person crew of the FV Misty dropped into the Pacific Ocean off of Port Orford, in Southern Oregon, to catch a small piece of a large fortune. It’s not easy money though, by any stretch. A day of pulling in hundreds of crab pots is relentless and fast-paced work, requiring razor-sharp choreography from a seasoned crew. Boat captain Aaron Ashdown can remember joining the family business when Dungeness crab was worth $2.50 per pound in starting price. “My dad told me, because a crab is about maybe two pounds, ‘There’s just little $5 bills all over the bottom of the ocean and all we got to do is go out there and pick them up.’” By the 2022 season, that value had risen to a record $5 starting price, unprecedented for Oregon. Interesting video, photos, >click to read< 11:06

Boats begin offloading crab

After a month-and-a-half delay, Oregon’s commercial Dungeness crab season is underway along at least part of the coast, and crab boats have been busy, already hauling significant catches back to port to be offloaded at the docks. Tim Novotny is the executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, an industry-funded agency established by the Oregon Legislature in 1977 to serve as an advocate for the crabbing industry. When Novotny was asked for his initial thoughts on this year’s season, he said, “It’s been a ball of yarn,” adding that it’s pretty much the opposite of last year. Photos, >click to read< 07:57

Oregon: First Dungeness crab catch of the season

Commercial crabbing season has officially begun in Eugene, as the first shipment of Dungeness crab arrived at the Fisherman’s Market Tuesday night. “This is as late as its ever opened. There was a few years back when it opened on the 15th as well, but it’s much later than normal,” said Ryan Rogers, owner of Fisherman’s Market in Eugene. The reason for the delay? Concerns over the quality of crab in other parts of the west coast. Rogers says, “It’s always crab season somewhere for us. I’ll drive to Blane, Washington, to Bodega Bay to get crab.” Video, >click to read< 10:41

Fishing boats depart for Alaska – Local crabbers begin dropping pots for season opener

A number of the larger commercial fishing boats that call Newport’s Yaquina Bay their home headed out this week for the annual trek to Alaska’s Bering Sea. It can take eight to 10 days for them to make the journey up north, depending on the weather. Boats from Newport will be docking either at Dutch Harbor or Kodiak, where they will be based while fishing for pollack and cod, a fishery that generally lasts for several months. The Port of Newport’s International Terminal was hopping with activity this week as boat owners and their crews made final preparations. In addition to the Alaskan fleet getting ready to head north, local commercial crabbers were busy loading their gear in preparation for the opening of the season this Sunday, Jan. 15. >click to read< 08:40

Commercial Dungeness crab season opens January 15

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday that the commercial Dungeness crab fishery season opens from Cape Falcon to Cape Arago January 15. The season opens February 1 from Cape Falcon north to Washington State; in accordance with the Tri-State Protocol. ODFW says that the crabs are ready for harvest after passing all administered tests. Crab meat fill now meets criteria in all areas of Oregon, and biotoxins are below alert levels in all crab tested from Cape Arago north. However, domoic acid testing of crab will continue from Cape Arago south to the California border as test results Thursday showed elevated levels of domoic acid in the area. >click to read< For more information about crabbing season you can visit ODFW’s website.  09:21

Oregon Crabbers demand opening of season

Small-vessel crabbers demand that state regulators commence Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery, condemning the thrice-delayed season as a scheme by big operators to depress dock prices and control the $90 million market. A Jan. 3 letter by the “consortium” of crab fishers addressed to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife blasted the “deeply misguided and extraordinarily harmful” decision by the agency last month to postpone the opening until at least Sunday, Jan. 15, due to concerns over meat quality and presence of domoic acid in some of Oregon’s 12 crab-fishing zones. “This group has strong incentives to prioritize a fast, high-volume harvest and reaps an enormous benefit from reduced competition that results from a delayed start,” the letter charged, explaining how prices plummet 50-75 percent following the primary holiday markets. >click to read< 16:42

Dungeness crab season closure has ‘cut off a key economic lifeline to small coastal fishing communities’

A group of Oregon Dungeness crab fishers comprising nearly 10% of the state’s permitted commercial fleet sent an open letter this morning to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife strongly criticizing the Department’s failure to open the Dungeness crab season along approximately half of Oregon’s coast in areas where crab have exceeded meat quality thresholds for several weeks. As the delayed opening enters its second month, the fishers’ letter describes in detail how the Department’s refusal to open the season has cut off a key economic lifeline to small fishing communities up and down the Oregon coast. The letter also takes sharp aim at the Oregon Dungeness Crab Advisory Committee, which the fishers describe as an “echo chamber” made up of special interests including major processors that benefit from lower prices that predominate after the end of the peak-demand holiday season, at the expense of mom-and-pop businesses and Oregon consumers. >click to read< 17:24

California crab season finally opens but storm keeps fisherman in port

Commercial crab season opened in California on Saturday, but in Monterey, fishermen were keeping their vessels in port because of the storm. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” said Gaspar Catanzaro with Monterey Fish Co. The commercial season opener has been delayed three times this year but officially opened at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The opening coincided with a winter storm bringing rain and high winds to the coast. To meet the holiday demand for crab, Monterey Fish Co. has been bringing in crab from Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Video, >click to read< 10:04

Dungies beyond crabbers’ grasp

The delay in starting the crab season, now stretching into its first month,,, “People have no idea how much money Dungeness crab bring into Newport,” said Casey Cooper, a third-generation fisherman who was rigging the steel-hulled Leslie Lee with crab pots at Newport’s International Terminal. “From car dealers to grocery stores, everybody’s waiting for this huge annual infusion of cash.” Businessman Dean Fleck of England Marine supplies the crab fleet with rope, buoys, crab pots and other fishing gear. He said the delay is being felt up and down the waterfront, where hundreds of workers from deckhands to processors are idled. He claimed each dollar generated by crab fishing is “brand new” to the local economy, with the potential to rebound seven times. >click to read< 15:41

Fishing boat catches fire at Newport dock

The Newport Fire Department was dispatched to a marine fire at 7:16 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, aboard the fishing vessel Nordic Valor, which was tied up at Port Dock 3 on Yaquina Bay. A deckhand checking on the boat opened the door to the cabin and smoke poured out, according to a press release issued by the fire department. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found the vessel filled with smoke and heat. The fire started in the galley area of the vessel and was burning in hidden voids between the inner walls and the outer hull. The F/V Nordic Valor was tied up just across from the Chelsea Rose, an historic fishing vessel that now functions solely as a floating fish market. >click to read< 12:00

CDFW opens commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery statewide Dec. 31, Oregon remains closed until at least Jan. 15,

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will open the commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide on Dec. 31, 2022. Fishing Zones 3-6 (all areas south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county Line) will open under a 50 percent trap reduction on Dec. 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m., with a 64-hour gear setting period to begin on Dec. 28, 2022 at 8:01 a.m. >click to read<

Oregon Season to remain closed until mid January – The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season remains closed until at least Jan. 15, 2023, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Round three of pre-season testing shows crabs still remain too low in meat yield on the southern and northern coasts. Elevated domoic acid is still detected in some crab viscera (guts). >click to read< 09:30

‘Looking at the years to come’: Pacific Seafood strategizes for the future

After coming off a remarkably successful year in 2021, Oregon’s commercial fishing industry is working through new challenges in 2022 and preparing for what’s ahead in 2023. In 2021, Oregon experienced its best crab year since 2013. Commercial fishing revenues jumped by 29% to $206 million, according to the Oregon Employment Department. In recent years, total fishing harvests have averaged about $165 million, making 2021 a year that stands out among the rest. Tyson Yeck, vice president for corporate key accounts with Pacific Seafood, said it was a phenomenal year for commercial fishing due to record-breaking prices and strong landings – meaning excellent catches. >click to read< 08:11

Latest round of Dungeness crab testing to conclude Tuesday

The second round of domoic acid and meat-quality testing for Dungeness crabs in Oregon, Washington and California is scheduled to conclude Tuesday as the commercial crabbing industry waits for an opening date. The results, which Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say are likely to be published by Wednesday, will determine if the coast’s commercial Dungeness crab season will open, or if the industry can expect more delays. >click to read< 09:58

Port Orford has $2.3-million for dock cranes upgrades project

Port Orford’s port is looking for a new dock crane or two, and it’s planning to spend more than $2,000,000 for upgrades. The Port says its crane replacement project involves two 50-ton cranes used to launch vessels going to sea and retrieve them when they return. The project also includes new product handling hoists and other seafood product handling equipment. The Port says it, “lands an average $5,000,000 in ex-vessel value seafood each year, contributing an average of $7,000,000 to Oregon’s economy, and employing approximately 30% of the local workforce in commercial fishing, processing, and related jobs.” >click to read< 08:05

Here’s why the West Coast Dungeness crab season has been delayed

Oregon’s most valuable commercial fishery, Dungeness crab, will have its season delayed from its traditional Dec. 1 start date because of low meat yields. Testing shows the crabs in some ocean areas off the West Coast don’t have enough meat in them to satisfy the commercial market. In some areas, testing also showed elevated levels of the naturally occurring toxin domoic acid, which can make the crabs unsafe to eat. ODFW conducts tests out of six major crabbing ports in partnership with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Oregon, California and Washington coordinate on commercial season opening dates, and the other states will also be delaying their crab season until at least Dec. 16. >click to read< 12:10

Fine quadrupled for repeat offender “paper captain” violation

Further investigation after a vessel operator declined an October notice of violation issued by the Coast Guard uncovered the operator in question had previous violations of the Jones Act. The initial fine of $3,000 has been increased to $12,968.50, the calculated average penalty for a repeat violator, said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty. “The violator, John D. Gibbs, declined it,” Fogarty said in a phone interview. “When the (notice of violation) is declined, it becomes a civil penalty.” Fogarty said enforcement elements targeted the vessel, the F/V Southern Horizon, because of information gathered. We went onboard, and the captain admitted to being a paper captain.” >click to read< 09:50

Oregon: Ocean commercial Dungeness crab season delayed

The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season opener is delayed until at least Dec. 16 for the entire Oregon coast. Pre-season testing shows crabs are too low in meat yield in some areas. Elevated domoic acid also was detected in some crab viscera (guts). Targeted to open Dec. 1, Oregon’s ocean commercial Dungeness crab season can be delayed so consumers get a high-quality product and crabs are not wasted. The next round of crab meat yield and biotoxin testing will occur in the coming weeks. Results help determine if the season opens Dec. 16 or is further delayed or split into areas with different opening dates. >click to read< 11:41

ODFW public meeting highlights whale entanglement

Caren Braby, Marine Resources Program Manager for ODFW says the annual meeting covers vast topics relevant to the crabbing fleet, but it’s now become more urgent to focus the conversation on entanglements. “There have been an increased level of entanglements in crab gear over about the last seven years.” And as crabbers prepare for the upcoming Dungeness Crab season open on December 1, ODFW is gathering input from crabbers on just how well efforts are going to decide if a change in approach is needed. >click to read< 14:08

U.S. Coast Guard rescues 2 fishermen off Oregon coast

The Coast Guard rescued two fishermen from a disabled vessel offshore Oregon Sunday. Watchstanders at the 13th Coast Guard District command center in Seattle received a report at 9:21 p.m. Friday that the 66-foot fishing vessel, F/V Lodestar, lost all means of propulsion and was stranded in a storm battling 8-to-12-foot waves and over 40-knot winds approximately 180 miles offshore Coos Bay. >click to read< 06:59

NMFS survey delivers more bad news to Bering Sea crab fleet

A Bering Sea survey by federal scientists contains more bad news for Alaska, Washington and Oregon-based crabbers hoping for an upturn in upcoming harvests that last year fell to rock-bottom levels. The federal survey results for Bristol Bay king crab are bleak and crabbers have been warned that for a second consecutive year there may not be a fall harvest, according to Jamie Goen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers. “We have got an emergency,” Goen said. “I’m trying to get Congress to act to help.” The National Marine Fisheries Service survey does offer hope for improved harvests three to five years from now, as young snow crabs grow to adult size. >click to read< 12:20

Website shines a light on offshore wind farms

Fishermen, an informal coalition of more than two dozen organizations concerned about the environmental and economic impacts of proposed offshore wind farms in the Pacific Ocean, launched a new website on Monday. Visitors to protectUSfishermen.org will find details not only on the current push to place wind turbine farms off the coast of Oregon, but also learn about the sustainable seafood industry and its positive impacts on the economy and food security. For those wishing to gain a broad understanding of the debate surrounding offshore wind, the site provides a comprehensive overview. Those wishing to take a “deep dive” into the issue can click on a variety of links to well-documented studies and positions from credible sources around the world. >click to read< 16:00

Oregon fishermen learn to face emergencies at sea through 2-day course

When things go wrong at sea, it may take time for first responders to reach those in trouble. That’s why non-profit Charleston Fishing Families partnered with Oregon State University Sea Grant Extension Office to offer two days of free Coast Guard approved first aid and CPR classes. The Fisherman First Aid and Safety Training course used in class and hands-on boat sessions to teach fishermen how to respond to events like head injuries, wounds, burns, and environmental illnesses. Video, photos, >click to read< 10:17

New generation keeps Pacific City’s famous dory fleet afloat

In 2003, when Shawn Farstad tracked down the dory boat his father sold in 1988, the boat was rotted and the owner was asking “a fortune.” But it had been built by Farstad’s grandfather, skippered by his dad and named for his sister, Susann, and mom, Janet. So, Farstad and his wife, Crystal, paid the price. Then, Farstad took the Su-Jan home, stripped it down to the bones and built it all over again. In this coastal home of the Pacific City dory fleet, the bond between fisher and boat runs deep. Today, Farstad builds dories and helps maintain the fleet. The demand for his work is growing as the dories grow older and need more care.  5 photos, >click to read< 10:11

Fishermen first aid and safety training coming to Charleston

Commercial fishing is a dangerous and challenging occupation. Everyone wants to be safe, but the risk of injury is always there. With this in mind, a team from Oregon State University and Oregon Sea Grant developed Fishermen First Aid and Safety Training, designed around the principles of wilderness first aid to better enable fishermen to prevent and treat injuries they are likely to encounter at sea. This year OSU is partnering with the Charleston Fishing Families to host FFAST August 29 and 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at their office near the Charleston Marina. >click to read, with additional links< 14:33

After the storm: Survivor recounts Pelican Bay storm 50 years later

David Alan Shinkle vividly remembers the day he lost his grandfather. It was 50 years ago, on Aug. 16, 1972 – a day that would change the course of his life. It was the day a tragic storm took the lives of 13 fishermen in Pelican Bay. Shinkle, like many young men and women, had the pleasure of spending summers with his grandparents. He remembers beachcombing, shooting guns and just doing the things that young boys do. When he was a teenager, he started fishing with his grandfather Clayton Dooley. Dooley was captain of the “Dixie Lee,” a 35-foot diesel-powered trawler based out of Brookings. When he and his grandfather left the Brookings boat basin early the morning of the storm, the skies were overcast and it was lightly raining. 2 photos, >click to read< 12:08

Oregon State Police conducts week-long ocean patrol

The entire OSP Marine Fisheries Team participated in a week long ocean enforcement effort aboard the Guardian, patrolling ports from Pacific City to the Oregon/California border. The enforcement focused on commercial and sport fisheries. Team members contacted a multitude of commercial vessels fishing for whiting, pink shrimp, sablefish, halibut and salmon. Two commercial troll salmon boats were cited for Commercial Troll Prohibited Method: more than four spreads per wire. One vessel had six spreads per wire and the other vessel had one wire with 10 spreads and another three with 6six spreads. 2 photos, >click to read< 16:15