Only male Dungeness crabs can be harvested commercially, and only when they reach a size of 6 1/4" width.

Only male Dungeness crabs can be harvested commercially, and only when they reach a size of 6 1/4" width.

Arya Surowidjojo / OPB

For the first time since 2014, the commercial Dungeness Crab season is opening as scheduled across the Oregon coast. This pleases seafood vendors.

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In past years, high levels of domoic acid or insufficient meat fill in sampled crab were cited as reasons for delaying the opener, which is December 1st. But the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife – along with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and commercial crabbers – say tested crustaceans from harvest areas were meaty and low in domoic acid this year.

“It’s a big relief for us,” says Ryan Rogers, owner of Fisherman’s Market in Eugene. He’s delighted that the season is opening on schedule for the first time in seven years.

“We have to travel great distances otherwise. I’ve gone from Bodega Bay in California to Blaine, Washington. Whatever distance we gotta go to make sure our customers have crab for the holidays.”

Ryan figures that he’ll have the first catch of the prized crustacean at this business on December 2nd, “if all goes well.”

Last season, more than 12 million pounds of Dungeness Crab were harvested, valued at over 60 million dollars.

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