Tag Archives: Dungeness crab

Long Beach area crab meat percentage drops

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife completed third round of preseason Dungeness crab testing Dec. 14 in the Long Beach test stations only. This test collected both crab shell condition and meat recovery data. Results do not bode well for a Dec. 31 start to the season. This third test was conducted at the request of members of the coastal crab industry, to confirm the results of the second round of tests from this same area. click here to read the story 12:42

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opener Pushed Back to Dec. 31

The director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced an additional 15-day delay for the upcoming commercial Dungeness crab season, based on the results of another round of pre-season quality testing conducted on Dec. 5. The tests continued to show that Dungeness crab are not yet ready for harvesting. The delay affects Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties). The season in these districts is now scheduled to open on 12:01 a.m. Dec. 31, 2017, to be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Dec. 28, 2017. click here to read the press release 19:32

Southeast Alaska: Commercial Dungeness fall fishery better than expected

The summer season for Dungeness crab didn’t go so well. In fact, it was the lowest harvest in over 30 years and managers ended up closing the fishery three weeks early. The summer season brought in 1.3 million pounds, less than half the average harvest.  With such a poor summer, state regulation required the fall season for Dungeness crab be shortened to 30 days, half the length of the normal fishery for most of Southeast. So, when the numbers came in, managers were surprised that harvests were not low. Joe Stratman is Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s lead crab biologist for Southeast. “We exceeded our expectations which is encouraging,” Stratman said. audio report, click here to read the story 13:50

Crab start delayed again

The commercial Dungeness crab season has been delayed again along the entire Pacific coast north of Point Arena, California until at least Dec. 31 after tests showed some crab are still too low in meat yield. Crab on the south Washington coast met the meat standard in Dec. 4 testing, but all areas north of Cascade Head have to be at or above 23 percent before the season can open. South of Cascade Head, the required meat threshold is 25 percent. (Cascade Head is located just north of Lincoln City on the north Oregon coast.) click here to read the story 14:04

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season in Northern California Delayed Due to Crab Quality Testing

Due to poor crab meat quality test results conducted at the beginning of November, the Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has issued a memo delaying the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season in Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties) for a minimum of 15 days until Dec. 16, under authority of Fish and Game Code section 8276.2. Crab quality tests ensure that crab are filled out enough prior to harvesting and follow the testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee that is overseen by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. click here to read the press release 21:15

WDFW delays commercial crab fishery on Washington coast due to low meat content

State shellfish managers have delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery on Washington’s coast due to inadequate meat in crab shells. Recent testing indicates crabs along the coast do not have sufficient meat in their shells to meet industry standards for harvest. The fishery will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 to allow more time for crabs to fill with more meat. Contrary to an erroneous news report, WDFW did not delay the commercial crab fishery due to a harmful algae bloom click here to read the story 17:53

The first Dungeness crabs are in, and they’re meaty!

“The crabs are meaty, and my haul was good,” Capt. Barry Day said upon his return to Pillar Point Harbor on the San Mateo County coast, where he sold the crustaceans straight off his boat for $6 a pound. Dan Chavez, the meat and seafood department manager at Draeger’s in Blackhawk, echoed that sentiment after receiving his store’s first shipment of live crabs Thursday. “They’re beautiful! They’re 2 pounds and over,” he said. “I called everyone and said, ‘Crab at my house tonight!’” click here to read the story 16:41

Oregon delays start of Dungeness crab season by more than 2 weeks

The traditional Dec. 1 opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 along the entire Oregon coast as testing shows crabs are too low in meat yield.,, Crab quality testing in early November showed that none of the test areas met the criteria for a Dec. 1 opening. The delayed opening will allow for crabs to fill with more meat. click here to read the story 15:58

“Last year’s season opening was also delayed but still brought in the highest ex-vessel value ever ($62.7 million) with 20.4 million pounds landed, about 22 percent above the 10-year average,” the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlifre said in a statement. click here to read the story

 

‘Tis the season – Commercial crabbing begins off the coast of Half Moon Bay

As the clock struck midnight, local fishermen of the coast of Half Moon Bay began eagerly reeling in the first commercially caught crabs of the season. The scene at Pillar Point Harbor’s docks the day before the official Nov. 15 opener of California’s commercial crab fishery was described simply as “a zoo.” “We’re excited. The last month or so you’ve just been working on the boat, working on the crab pots, getting everything ready. And now, you finally get to go to work, get to catch something. We’re all pumped up,” said Porter McHenry, captain of the Merva W and president of the Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association. click here to read the story 10:38

Dungeness crab season under way on the North Coast

The commercial crabbing season will start on time off the Sonoma Coast this fall for the first time in three years, putting fresh Dungeness crab in local markets by week’s end and restoring long-held autumn and holiday traditions. Commercial crabbers around Bodega Harbor hustled Monday to load boats with gear and bait and leave port in time to start soaking crab pots off the coast by early Tuesday morning. Their clocks were set for 6:01 a.m., the first moment by law at which they are permitted to put gear in the water. They can start pulling full pots and landing crab at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, the official start of the season. click here to read the story 09:04

Oregon: Bay crabbing closures leave businesses empty

The Oct. 15 closure of both recreational and commercial crabbing came as quite a surprise to many local businesses who rely on bay crabbing in the months leading up to the Dec. 1 ocean crabbing season.,,, The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife along with the Oregon Department of Agriculture closed crabbing after noticing increased levels of domoic acid in local Dungeness crabs coming out of the bay. However, locals who financially rely on crabbing feel this isn’t as dangerous as state agencies are making it out to be. click here to read the story 09:08

Commercial Dungeness crab season scheduled to start on Nov. 15

On Thursday, the California Department of Public Health said that the local commercial Dungeness crab season is expected to begin as scheduled on Wednesday for the San Francisco fishing fleet and the region south of the Mendocino County line. As in recent years, there was some concern about whether that would happen when preseason tests of Dungeness crabs caught in far Northern California — especially near Fort Bragg and Crescent City (Del Norte County) — showed dangerous levels of domoic acid, the naturally occurring toxin that delayed the 2015-16 and 2016-17 commercial crab seasons. click here to read the story 21:34

Tanner crab fishery to open in Kodiak for first time since 2013

Nat Nichols, Alaska Department of Fish and Game area management biologist for the Groundfish, Shellfish & Dive Fisheries, says the last opening was in 2013. He says ADF & G conducts an extensive trawl survey program between Dutch Harbor and Kodiak focused on tanner crab in the Gulf of Alaska. “This year we did 363 stations. About 200 of those are in Kodiak, so quite a few stations around Kodiak to assess tanner crab abundance.,, Meanwhile, the Dungeness crab season, which opened in May and June, closed last week. click here to read the story 17:35

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife – Crab still soft, light on meat

Dungeness crab in the Long Beach area are putting on meat at a slower rate than last year, possibly calling into question whether they will be ready for harvest by the traditional Dec. 1 start date. Samples gathered by Oct. 24 in the Long Beach test area had a meat-recovery rate of 19.9 percent, compared to 23 percent from samples gathered by Oct. 30 last year. Samples from the Westport area collected on or before Oct. 27 had a recovery rate of 20.2 percent, compared to 22.9 percent last year. A test conducted by the Quinault Indian Nation (off Westport and Point Grenville) on Oct. 17 had a pick-out rate of 16.5 percent, according to an Oct. 31 report by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. click here to read the story 19:37

Fishermen: ‘We want to be proactive’ – Making The Sea Safer For Whales

More than 30 times this year, the federal government has received reports of whales tangled in fishing gear along the West Coast. Sometimes the whales manage to wriggle free. Other times you see heart-rending pictures on the news or a rescue mission. The culprit often involves Dungeness crab pot lines. Now Oregon crabbers are working with marine scientists to make the seas safer for whales and to avoid a black mark on their brand.  Bob Eder has fished commercially out of Newport, Oregon for decades.  “Over 45 years of pulling crab pots—I think I’ve probably hauled in close to a million—I’ve never encountered an entangled whale,” he said.  ‘We want to be proactive’  click here to read the story 09:03

Dungeness crab season could be delayed again by the toxin domoic acid

Dungeness crab season is approaching in the Bay Area, along with all the rituals that come with it — the crab feeds and holiday dinners piled with crab legs, sourdough bread and crocks of melted butter. Unfortunately, there’s another, more recent local tradition that is also back: uncertainty about whether algal blooms will delay the season. Domoic acid is the naturally occurring toxin caused by algal blooms that delayed the past two Dungeness crab seasons. According to test results from the California Department of Public Health, elevated levels of the toxin have shown up in samples of Dungeness crab collected in recent weeks at several North Coast ports. However, the agency said it’s too soon to say whether domoic acid will delay the commercial Dungeness fishery, due to open Nov. 15. click here to read the story 11:05

‘Time is of the essence’: California Fisheries face uncertainty

State regulators and fishing officials said at a Eureka hearing on Friday that only by working together can they overcome the trials and uncertainty that several California’s fisheries face today. With a poor salmon catch in 2017 and 2016 and a potential delay in the North Coast Dungeness crab season following three years of poor landings and abnormal ocean conditions, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations Executive Director Noah Oppenheim said fishing fleets are still feeling the economic effects and that time to address the underlying issues is running slim. click here to read the story 08:46

Southeast summer Dungeness harvest the worst in decades

The summer season for Dungies closed three weeks early in Southeast. I sat down with Kellii Wood, a Crab Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, to ask what happened.  “How did it go this year,” I ask her. Wood laughs and gives a drawn out, “well.” The thing is Dungeness crab in Southeast are tricky because state managers don’t know a lot about them. The crab are on a four to five year life cycle and the commercial fishery is expected to fluctuate accordingly. But there are no stock assessment surveys so biologists rely on commercial harvests to track the population.,,, Wood says there has been some anecdotal evidence from fishermen reporting light-colored crab near the end of the fishery. That would indicate crab that recently molted. So this summer’s low harvest could be due to a late molt. It could mean that the crab are there, it’s just bad timing. Audio, click hereto read the story 12:36

Crab bill strengthening the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab industry heads to President Trump

A bill introduced by Oregon’s Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to strengthen Oregon’s crab fishery passed the United States Senate and will now head to the president’s desk for signature into law. The bill permanently extends a decades-long fishery management agreement that has been vital to the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab fishery.,,, The states of Oregon, Washington, and California cooperatively manage the West Coast crab fishery in federal waters under a tri-state agreement that Congress first authorized in 1998. The act would make that authority permanent. click here to read the story 15:51

California Dungeness crab fleet nets $68 million haul, but small boats continue to struggle

California’s valuable Dungeness crab fishery appears to have rebounded after a disastrous 2015-16 season that threatened to knock even longtime fishermen so far back on their heels some feared they might not recover. Preliminary figures from the 2016-17 season show statewide commercial landings at more than $68.2 million, above the most recent 10-year average, and bested only twice in that period, including the peak $95.5 million haul in 2011-12.,,, But the relative bounty of the season, many said, obscures continued hardship for small, family operations disadvantaged by management shifts in the commercial crabbing season. But the results of those and continued serial openings onward up the coast meant that the biggest boats — those which can move their gear in one go and fill a large hold with crabs before having to return to shore — could converge on each small area that opened, whatever the weather or water conditions. The staggered openings meant big boats cleaned up and the small boats were left behind. click here to read the story 11:47

California Dungeness crab industry bounces back with strong season

Crabbers, seafood processors and state biologists agree that the most recent Dungeness crab season, which ended June 30 south of Mendocino County, was above average. Considering the disastrous previous season of 2015-16, which featured historic, months-long closures in the Dungeness crab fishery due to the presence of domoic acid in the animals, that’s more than above-average news. “We made some money,” said Shane Lucas, who fishes for crab out of Bodega Bay, where he also owns the Fishetarian Fish Market. Based on preliminary data, the 2016-17 season brought in over 21 million pounds of Dungeness crab to California ports, worth $66.7 million.,,, But this year’s crab season was not without its issues. click here to read the story 16:33

With no relief funds in sight, crab fishermen discuss next steps

After four years of poor crab and salmon fishing, including one of the worst crab seasons in recent memory, local fisherman and Eureka resident Bob Borck decided in November that it was time to move on. After selling his fishing vessel — the Belle J II — of four years in January, Borck is now planning to start work as a contractor. “I couldn’t be married to the boat,” he said Friday. “I’ve got enough family responsibilities on shore that it was too difficult to dedicate it to everything it needed to be.” Borck said he isn’t walking away from the industry completely if the right opportunity presents itself. But he said isn’t pining to return to it either, especially following a “pretty hard financial beating” after toxic algae blooms closed the 2015-16 Dungeness crab season for six months, placing many fishermen into debt. Borck’s story is not unique. Click here to read the story 08:01

In Seaside, Oregon, youngsters are learning about crabs in ‘Boat to School’

Commercial Dungeness crab season is red-hot and rolling despite cold and wet conditions. Dean Ellsworth says his 44-foot fishing boat, the “Nola K,” is his winter home at this time of year. Ellsworth and his three-man crew spend long days and nights tossing out and pulling in nearly a thousand 80-pound crab pots during a fishing season that’s hitting its stride.,, This year, fishermen say Oregon seafood is so important to the state that it’s time to take the message to school. In Seaside, Oregon youngsters are learning valuable lessons about Oregon’s famous seafood. The program is called “Boat to School,” and it’s a pilot project that brings together educators, their students and fishermen who show and tell the fifth graders at Seaside’s Heights Elementary School where their food comes from. Photo gallery, read the story here 08:47

Crabbing: an inherently dangerous job

Some may wonder if the 2017 Dungeness crab season was ill-fated: First delayed by weeks to make certain crab were free of domoic acid toxin, delayed again after processors proposed lowering the price paid to crabbers, and then it started with a capsizing near the mouth of the Columbia River that could have cost five lives except for quick intervention by another crabbing boat. Today’s crabbers and fishermen have to be smart and rational to survive — literally and economically. Delays in the season also often have strategic components involving jockeying over price, and competition over crabbing grounds. Sometimes crabbers wait to allow an early-season storm to pass. Read the op-ed here 18:59

Today’s Dungeness crab fisherman must be smart, rational to survive

Some may wonder if the 2017 Dungeness crab season is ill-fated: First delayed by weeks to make certain crab were free of domoic acid toxin, delayed again after processors proposed lowering the price paid to crabbers, and then it started with a capsizing that could have cost five lives except for quick intervention by the Ballad. Today’s crabbers and fishermen have to be smart and rational to survive — literally and economically. Crab around the mouth of the Columbia this season never exceeded safe levels of marine toxin, but the industry is united in striving to preserve the reputation of Dungeness crab as a pure, premium product. For this reason alone, it’s sensible to take every precaution. Delays in the season also often have strategic components involving jockeying over price, and competition over crabbing grounds. Sometimes crabbers wait to allow an early-season storm to pass. In this instance, the closure went longer than most anyone wanted. Read the op-ed here 10:41

Crawling with crab! Temporary glut slows processors

A perfect storm of weather, strong catches and domoic acid worries has led to a glut of crab on the market, overwhelming processors and making it harder for fishermen to find buyers for the high-value crustacean. Dave Hubbard, captain of the fishing vessel Katrina, said he waited 58 hours to unload 25,000 pounds of crab his crew had caught between Garibaldi and Klipsan Beach, Washington. On Monday, the Katrina docked at the Port of Astoria’s Pier 2, its catch unloaded by workers from Bornstein Seafoods. Hubbard said processors were hit by icy weather on land preventing delivery trucks and workers from coming and going. The processors have boats on catch limits, he said, based on the amount of crab pots they drop. “Everyone’s jammed up,” said Steve Fick, owner of Fishhawk Fisheries in Astoria. Read the story here 16:05

Pacific Choice play for pocket change threatens to sink a second crab season – End crab strike: Pay the full $3

North Coast commercial crabbers had a bad enough time last season, thanks to domoic acid spikes. But at least they could blame that on algae blooms and health concerns. This season could be undone by something entirely within human control: The unwillingness of seafood company Pacific Choice to shell out 25 cents more per pound for Dungeness crab meat. Crab prices have been set at $3 per pound since the November opening of the season; Pacific Choice wants to pay 25 cents less. The price dispute has put another crab season on hold. Local crab boats, if they stooped to selling crab for $2.75 per pound, would lose between $7,000 to $10,000 per average medium to small boat, according to the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association. Read the op-ed here 07:50

Crab fishermen strike for higher price per-pound from Bodega Bay north through Oregon and Washington

Crabbers from Bodega Bay north through Oregon and Washington to the Canadian border went on strike Wednesday afternoon after wholesale Dungeness crab buyers sought to lower the per-pound price fishermen earn for the much sought-after crustacean. Fishermen have agreed to either cease crabbing in areas off the Sonoma Coast where the Dungeness crab season has already opened, or delay the start of their season in hopes of retaining the $3-per-pound price they have earned fishing in Northern California’s rich waters so far this year, according to Lorne Edwards, president of the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Marketing Association, an industry trade group. Read the rest of the story here 07:48

More of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Open from Point Arena to Ten Mile; One Area Still Closed

On Dec. 29, more of the California coastline will open to the commercial Dungeness crab fishery. Some previously closed areas will open at the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today. The area between Point Arena and Ten Mile River in Mendocino County will open on Dec. 29. However, due to persisting conditions of elevated domoic acid levels, the fishery will remain closed between Ten Mile River and Shelter Cove. The closed portions of the coast may open once testing by state agencies shows that domoic acid in crabs from the area no longer poses a significant risk to public health. On Dec. 29 at 12:01 a.m., the commercial Dungeness crab season will open from 38° 57.5′ N. Lat. (near Point Arena) to 39° 33.3′ N. Lat. (near Ten Mile River).The opener in this area will be preceded by a 64-hour pre-soak period commencing at 8 a.m. on Dec. 26. The area between Ten Mile River and Shelter Cove will remain closed until,,, Read the press release here 17:46

Southeast Alaska Dungeness fall harvest was lower than expected

The fall harvest was approximately 403,000 pounds. That’s about 150,000 pounds less than last year. Kellii Wood is a Crab Biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She says they’ve seen harvests like this before but it’s been a while. “It’s definitely down from previous years,” Wood says. “We have been lower but I believe it was in the 90s.” Wood says the harvest is far below the five year fall average of 732,000 pounds. About one-fifth of the year’s harvest comes in the fall. This year was just a little below that. Wood says the recent average is a bit skewed when you consider 2014. It was an unusually good year seeing the third highest fall harvest on record since the 1960s. That fall fishermen harvested about a million pounds. Listen to the audio report here 13:55