Dungeness crab harvest delayed off WA, OR coast

The Dungeness crab harvest is Washington state's most valuable commercial fishery. (David Gutman / The Seattle Times, 2021)

The prime Dungeness crab harvest grounds stretching from Klipsan Beach, Washington, to Cape Falcon, Oregon, will not open until Feb. 1 due to surveys that found legal-sized males still lacked enough recoverable meat in their shells.

The Friday announcement was made through a policy group that includes the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The late start to the 2022-2023 commercial season is a disappointment to crabbers. Last season, the crab's meat condition enabled a Dec. 1, 2021, start to the harvest.

The Dungeness crab harvest is Washington state's most valuable commercial fishery. During the past decade, the seasons have generated on average $47.92 million to crabbers.

In the upcoming season, fishers will have a 73-hour period to set their pots that will begin at 8 a.m. Jan. 29.

Tribal ocean crab fisheries already are underway.

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