Tag Archives: Dungeness crab

Commercial Dungeness crab season delayed

Pre-season testing shows Dungeness crabs are too low in meat yield in some ocean areas, delaying Oregon’s commercial season until at least Dec. 16.  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. Oregon, California and Washington coordinate Dungeness crab quality testing and the commercial season opening dates. >>click to read<< 14:30

Dungeness Crab Season Delayed Again, This Time Until Mid-December

The Commercial Dungeness crab fishing season has been delayed again, this time due partly to poor meat quality found in samples, and due to humpback whales still migrating south. While hopes for Thanksgiving crab were already dashed a few weeks ago with the initial delay, a second delay in California’s commercial Dungeness crab fishing season has been called by the state fish and wildlife authorities. In a Friday announcement, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said that they would reevaluate the fishery on December 7 for a potential opening of the commercial season on December 16.  >>click to read<< 12:07

Commercial Dungeness crab season delayed by California Fish and Wildlife

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Friday delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season, citing the need to protect humpback whales and other ocean life from entanglement. The delay — which will remain in effect until further notice — affects the taking and possession of commercially-caught Dungeness crab for 200 nautical miles extending from the California coastline. Additionally, a fleet advisory is in effect for recreational Dungeness crab, reminding fisheries to maintain best practices. The next risk assessment is scheduled for around Dec. 7. Friday’s decision falls on the heels of a late October call by the department to restrict recreational and commercial crab fishing in the state. >>click to read<< 09:01

California commercial Dungeness crab fishing season delayed

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced a delay in the season opener for California commercial Dungeness crab fishing off the Central and Southern Coast to protect whales from entanglement. The decision is based on a combination of excessive humpback whale entanglements in California Dungeness crab gear over the last three years and high numbers of recent humpback whale sightings off the central coast according to CDFW’s Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program criteria. Due to number of entanglements, NMFS is proposing to upgrade the California commercial Dungeness crab fishery to a Category I fishery,,, >>click to read<< 08:09

In 42 photos, See how Dungeness crab is caught off Kodiak Island, Alaska

Captain Garrett Kavanaugh of the Fishing Vessel Insatiable stands for a portrait in front of his 58’ boat at the harbor in Kodiak, Alaska. As ocean temperatures rise, fishermen everywhere must adapt to harvesting different species. Garrett Kavanaugh, captain of the Fishing Vessel Insatiable out of the port of Kodiak Island, has invested large equipment, fuel, and labor, betting on Dungeness crabs as the future of his Alaskan fishing business. >>click to read<< 20:39

Pacific Seafood Controls the Dungeness Crab Market, but Small Fishermen Are Fighting Back

After a blockbuster 2022 crabbing season that saw an on-time, December 1 start date and record prices for fishermen, this year’s crab season didn’t kick off until mid-January after three regulatory delays. When the season did begin, crabbers were offered as little as $2 per pound for their catch, a price that left many struggling to pay staff and buy fuel and bait. Those conditions have squeezed the small businesses that make up the West Coast crabbing industry and act as the backbone for small towns up and down the shoreline. But this year appears to have brought boom times for one company in particular—Pacific Seafood. >click to read< 07:40

Crab pots ‘absolutely stuffed’ as Bering Sea Dungeness fishery breaks records

While many Bering Sea crab populations are in freefall, Dungeness crab is breaking records in regions that hardly used to see them. The North Peninsula District in the eastern Bering Sea opened as a commercial Dungeness fishery in the early ‘90s. In those early days, it was common for just one or two boats to fish there — many seasons, there were none. The numbers increased modestly over the ensuing decades — but that growth has recently become exponential. “The pots that we’re seeing coming out of this fishery are absolutely stuffed with crab,” said Ethan Nichols, who works for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “Like, you don’t even know how many crabs can fit in a pot.” >click to read< 20:43

Dungeness crab fisherman from Half Moon Bay claims hefty fine ‘the most unfair thing’

Half Moon Bay commercial fisherman Paul Toste this week agreed to pay $17,000 in fines after state game wardens caught him fishing illegally for crabs in a marine preserve. But Toste, 52, claims he was unjustly persecuted and punished for a simple navigation mistake. “This was the most unfair thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Toste said. “The original fine was $610,000 — for 15 crab pots. They tortured me for nine months of negotiating. It was one of the most horrible things I went through.”  When he moved to the area 16 years ago, fishing was legal in what is now the reserve, he said. “They took that away from us,” he said. “We never were compensated for it, and then … I’m receiving a ticket for $610,000.” >click to read< 14:35

Shining the Light on Baby Crabs

The light trap at Whaler Bay is one in a network of 20 traps placed throughout the Canadian side of the Salish Sea, from Read Island in the north to James Island near Sidney in the south, as part of the Hakai Institute’s multiyear Sentinels of Change program. Launched in 2022 to mark the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, this community-centered initiative involves understanding how marine invertebrates are adapting to the changing environment. The light trap project, which focuses on the native Dungeness crab—a much-loved treat on the coast that can grow to the size of an adult’s outstretched hand—is a part of this program. Photos, >click to read< 10:17

Willapa Bay crabbers deliver record haul

More than 1.5 million pounds of Dungeness crab have been caught by commercial fishermen in the bay this year, far exceeding previous annual landings records over the past 25 years. Despite a two-month delay in the 2022-2023 season that eventually began Feb. 1, the current commercial Dungeness landings are about 1.54 million pounds as of Monday, March 27, a roughly 23% increase over the previous record of 1.19 million pounds caught during the entire 2010-2011 season. Pinched by inflated fuel and expenses and a low price from processors, commercial crab fishermen would rather put this current season behind them as they prepare for the next fishery. “It’s been above average,” said commercial fishermen Ross Kary. “But with the crab price it’s still not the best year I’ve had. With the price of everything, expenses are really high. We were lucky to not go bankrupt.” Photos, >click to read< 20:20

Crab fishing remains lucrative, critical industry for Gig Harbor fishermen

Off the coast of Washington, several Gig Harbor residents are hard at work on crab fishing boats, handling all that comes with the job. A handful of Gig Harbor residents hold commercial crab fishing licenses. Several others are crab license lease holders. The state capped the number of available commercial crab fishing licenses at 220 in the 1990s. The intent was to manage crab populations, and also limit the amount of gear in the water to protect other sea life, such as whales, said Dan Ayers, coastal shellfish manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Commercial crab fishing was an estimated $86 billion industry in Washington state in 2022. That total includes boat sales, gear, and processing facilities that handle the harvests. >click to read< 09:24

Flooded market has Dungeness crab prices way down

After waiting more than six weeks for the Dungeness crab season to finally open in early January, customers have no doubt noticed that prices are lower than they have been in recent years. At H&H Fresh Fish Co. in the Santa Cruz Harbor, which prioritizes sourcing crab from local fishermen, the price for cooked Dungeness crab is $15 per pound and $9 per pound for live crabs. That’s half as much as the 2021-22 crab season, when the price for live crab hovered between $14 to $18 per pound and rose above $20 around that holiday season, while cooked crab was around $18 per pound. An excess of Dungeness crab in the California market is lowering prices, explains Hans Haveman, a co-owner of H&H Fresh Fish Co, especially on the north coast.  >click to read< 12:06

Dungeness crab at $5.99/lb. Nice! But crab fishers get $2/lb. Tough deal.

Remember a year ago, and the $18.99 up to $24.50 a pound prices? When you hear about a “market correction,” here it is in a dramatic display: a plunge of two-thirds or more. There are plenty of reasons why. For the Dungeness crab fishers, a number of them small operators, it’s tough days. They’re getting $2 a pound, maybe $2.25 a pound wholesale for the crabs. In last winter’s boom times they were getting $5.50 a pound from processors. “I haven’t seen this low a price in over a decade. It’d probably be cheaper not to fish. But we can’t not fish, if that makes sense. We have to keep making our payments or we’ll end up in a loss,” says Jennifer Custer, who does the bookkeeping while her husband, Chuck Custer, runs their 46-foot fishing boat, the Miss Kathleen, out of Westport. >click to read< 09:43

Oregon’s Late Dungeness Crab Seasons Create Challenges for Crabbers, Restaurants, and Diners

The impact is felt strongest by Oregon’s 423 commercial crabbers who depend on Dungeness for a substantial portion of their annual revenue. Tim Novotny, executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, said that Dungeness is easily the most profitable of Oregon’s fisheries, and while many crabbers are able to harvest shrimp or rockfish in the off-season, the uncertainty heading into the critical crab season in December is especially stressful. “They’ve got to try to find a way to keep their crew busy and fill out the payroll,” Novotny said. “It’s very harrowing during that time period. They’ve gotten used to these delays, but it’s still very uncomfortable and full of angst.” >click to read< 08:32

Westport and Tokeland drop their crab pots in anticipation of today’s commercial crab opener

At 8 a.m. this past Sunday, “Dump Day” took over the ports at Westport and Tokeland. The pots have been “soaking.” Commercial crabbers were allowed to pull pots they dropped on Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. today, Wednesday, Feb. 1. Jeremy Hammond, 50, Tokeland, is a deckhand for the Southern Cross, a fishing boat moored in Tokeland. His dad was a Bering Sea captain. He spent 12 years fishing the Bering Sea, an inhospitable water full of wind and waves and severe cold. Fit as a fiddle, this past Saturday he manhandled the crab pots as he filled the hull and then the deck of the Southern Cross. Hammond has a softer side, playing guitar, writing his own songs. He has a baby grand piano in his living room. But his essence is as a fisherman. “I’m excited to go out there and make a paycheck,” he said. >click to read< 13:36

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

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

Local crab fishermen face challenges with late start to season

The commercial crabbing industry has been hit especially hard this year.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife delayed the season three times already because of humpback whales in the area. It’s been a long wait for local crabbers desperate for some much-needed revenue. Every crab pot is checked and readjusted as Captain Matt Juanes does some early preparation for opening day. Multiple delays mean no income since salmon season ended months ago. “We’re dying on the vine. If it’s not salmon, it’s crab. We’re hit from all sides,” said fisherman Brand Little, the captain and owner of salmon and crabbing boat the Pale Horse.  Video,>click to read< 11:58

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

California’s Dungeness crab season delayed yet again, this time until Dec. 30

California Fish and Wildlife officials on Wednesday evening announced another postponement in the commercial Dungeness crab season for the entire state coast — the third delay this season. There are two geographically based reasons behind the decision: From the Sonoma/Mendocino County line south to the Mexican border, a risk assessment undertaken Wednesday determined there is still a high concentration of migrating whales that could get tangled in fishing gear. It’s the fourth consecutive year of delays to protect the humpbacks. On the far north coast, whales have moved south from Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties, but state officials said testing of crabs caught in these waters showed low meat quality, hence the continued ban there. >click to read< 08:56

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

SF fishermen say Bay Area crab season may never again start before Thanksgiving

It’s going to be harder to find local crab this Thanksgiving, and possibly for many Thanksgivings to come. For the fourth year in a row, the start of San Francisco’s Dungeness crab season has been delayed, and local fishermen say a later crab season may now have shifted for good. “I think it is the new normal,” Max Boland, the vice president of sales at Safecoast Seafoods, a wholesale fishing company on Fisherman’s Wharf, John Barnett, a commercial crab fisherman and the president of the San Francisco Boat Owners Association, agrees. Video, >click to read<16:39

Dungeness Crab Fishery Delay to Protect Whales from Entanglement and Due to Low Crab Quality

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is continuing the temporary recreational crab trap restriction in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6 due to presence of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement from trap gear. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 3-6 will also remain delayed due to presence of high numbers of humpback whales and the potential for entanglement with lines and traps in this fishery. CDFW anticipates the next risk assessment will take place on or before Dec. 7, 2022, at which time CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham will re-evaluate the temporary recreational crab trap restriction and commercial fishery delay in Fishing Zones 3-6. >click to read< 07:42

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

Dungeness crab die-off underway along US West Coast

An important species of crab found primarily along the West Coast is fighting off a combination of stressors that experts at the North Atlantic and Atmospheric Administration say has fishermen finding piles of dead shellfish, and the impacts are affecting the economy. Dungeness crabs are typically found along water beds, and their harvest can be worth a quarter-billion dollars annually. NOAA Fisheries believes the combination of a lack of oxygen, harmful algal blooms, water temperatures and ocean acidification are playing a role in the animal’s disappearance. >click to read< 16:12

Dungeness crab fishery to close early after slow start

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Southeast Alaska will close early this summer because the start of the season has been so slow. In recent years, Dungeness crabbing has been pretty great for commercial fishermen in Southeast. The harvests and prices have been above average, sometimes way above. Last year, saw the second highest harvest on record and the highest price ever paid. The summer season was worth $13 million. But this year looks different. The season opened on June 15.  About 200 fishermen registered in the region and they’ve reported poor fishing. “I’ve heard generally it’s slow,” said Joe Stratman with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “I’ve heard generally it’s slow throughout the region.” It’s only the third time in the last 20 years that the season has been shortened. >click to read< 10:14

San Francisco D.A. wants a fisherman to pay nearly $1 million over illegal Dungeness crabbing in MPA

A commercial fisherman from Vallejo is accused of illegally catching more than 250 Dungeness crabs at the protected North Farallon Islands State Marine Reserve, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Friday. On Feb. 11, an unidentified fisherman alerted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife of commercial Dungeness crab traps in the North Farallon Islands State Marine Reserve area, according to a complaint filed by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. Officers from the CDFW then found what appeared to be a line, also called a “string,” of 92 commercial Dungeness crab trap buoys in the southern part of the reserve,,, >click to read< 17:21