Commercial crab fishery opening delayed

Commercial crab fishermen may have to wait a little longer to harvest crab due to a delay in the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery on Washington’s coast.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced on Nov. 20 the fishery will be delayed until about Dec. 16 to allow more time for crabs to fill with more meat.

The commercial fishery on Washington’s coast usually opens Dec. 1 but recent testing showed crabs along the coast do not have enough meat in their shells to meet industry standards for harvest.

Dan Ayres, coast shellfish manager for WDFW said another round of testing will happen after Thanksgiving to determine whether the fishery can open on Dec. 16 or if the opening will need to be delayed further.

Ayres said it’s not unusual for crabs to need more time to fatten up and that they will reevaluate in the next couple of weeks.

“WDFW did not delay the commercial crab fishery due to a harmful algae bloom,” Ayres said.

Recent tests results show crabs along the Washington coast are currently safe to eat. Recreational crabbing remains open in Washington’s coastal waters and in several areas of the Puget Sound.

For more information about recreational crab fishing in Washington, visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.

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