Tag Archives: Dungeness crab

Slow crawl for crab: Seasonal delays stifle coastal economy

Price strikes, delays and poor weather have plagued the 2017-18 Dungeness crab season from the start. Roughly four weeks into the season, landings for the non-tribal coastal crab fishery in Washington were 5,574,792 pounds, only about 60 percent of the total catch during the first weeks of 2016-17 season. “It’s clear this season we are behind,” Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said upon seeing the first official numbers of the season on Friday, Feb 16. >click to read<12:35

California crabbers concede 25 cents

Local commercial Dungeness crab fishermen return to their trade today but will receive 25 cents per pound less for their catch than when they started the season earlier this month.  Following a meeting on Monday, crabbers in Brookings, Crescent City, Trinidad, Eureka and Fort Bragg agreed to resume fishing on Tuesday, said Rick Shepherd, president of the Del Norte Fisherman’s Marketing Association. Seafood buyers are now paying fishermen $2.50 per pound, Shepherd said.  “We’re trying to hold that $2.75, but we don’t know how long we’d have to sit to do it,” he said. “There’s not much else we can do.” >click to read<11:07 

Dangerous swells will complicate harvest this week as Crabbers go to sea

An informal Dungeness crab price strike ended this week on the Washington and Oregon coast after Newport-based crabbers decided to accept $2.75 a pound from Trident Seafoods. Columbia River-based crabbers began soaking pots at 9 a.m. Monday. Crabbers didn’t reach a formal agreement with industry giant Pacific Seafoods after days of stalemated talks in which fishermen sought a starting price of $3 a pound for wholesale deliveries to processors. Last year’s price was $2.89 a pound. >click here to read< 11:53

Crabbers set to snap – Frustrations mount as price deadlock and towering swells delay season

Frustrations grew Tuesday as crabbers and processors continued drawn-out negotiations over 2018’s opening price for Dungeness crab. All was silent in the Ilwaco channel and Port of Chinook in recent days when boats ordinarily would have been noisily traveling back and forth to crabbing grounds. No lights bobbed on the ocean off the Long Beach Peninsula.  Commercial crab harvesting was set to open Monday south of the Klipsan Beach line, but price negotiations and ocean conditions are keeping boats in port. >click here to read<15:08

Board votes down change in Southeast Dungeness crab season

Crabber Max Worhatch proposed the change and successfully got the board to add the proposal to the meeting after missing the deadline for regulation changes.“I would like to seriously consider this,” Worhatch told the board. “I put a proposal in, just like this three years ago, didn’t get anywhere. The department felt like they had to have something to manage the fishery when it got to the low end. But in my experience and just from what I’ve seen in Oregon, California and Washington, size sex and season for Dungeness crab works and it works extremely well. It’s kindof an autopilot thing, doesn’t take a lot of work.” >click here to read< 10:22

Commercial crab season to open Monday but local crabbers want another test done

Following several delays, the commercial Dungeness crab fishing season for Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties is opening Jan. 15, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday.,,, Trinidad commercial crabber Craig Goucher said there are currently no plans to set gear Jan. 12. Instead, he said, local crabbers plan to wait until Jan. 15 to drop gear. “We’re going to set some test gear out and get it processed and determine what the pick out is,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “We can legally get that sample on the 15th.” >click here to read< 09:34

Negotiations could further delay crab catch – Columbia crab fishermen can start placing their pots in the ocean Friday morning, but first they have to settle on a price with processors. >click here to read< 10:17

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Open in Northern California

The northern California Dungeness crab fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties will open 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. The opener will be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that will begin at 8:01 a.m. Jan. 12, 2018. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham had delayed the season a total of three times after crab quality test results in November and December indicated that crab were not ready for harvesting. Jan. 15 is the latest the Director can delay the season due to quality testing. >click here to read<21:23

Crab Fishing in California: Risky Business

Dungeness crab, buttery and served steaming hot, is a Christmas tradition on many central California tables. But two years ago families had to forgo their holiday treat, and they were not the only ones to suffer. California fishermen were crippled by an unprecedented algal bloom that contaminated crabs with a neurotoxin called domoic acid, which is deadly to humans. That shut business down through the most lucrative part of the season, from Thanksgiving to Christmas. click here to read the story 11:41

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