Ready! Set! Crab!
Oregon Dungeness crab season opens tomorrow, Tuesday the 1st of December, and the crabbing is expected to be good.
Just how good is the question. While crab caught in Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife test pots have shown excellent “fill,” there are still questions.
“The quality is good,” said Mark Smith, captain of the Marilyn A, docked at the Port of Brookings Harbor. “But we don’t know how many there are.”
Early signs point to a decent catch, better than last year but not quite average,” Smith said.
Last year ODFW reported large numbers of small crab, an indicator of future good harvests. However, crab are migratory and the larger populations may have moved elsewhere.
“They’re unpredictable. They’re there one day and gone the next,” said Kenneth Vander Voorden of the Miss Stacey.
Crab fishermen can begin dropping pots today (Nov. 28) and pick them up at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the first day of the season. The season usually lasts through July, but most of the crab is caught during the first two months.
For the last few weeks fishermen have been repairing and preparing crab pots, doing boat maintenance and reconfiguring boats for crabbing, and the U.S. Coast Guard has inspected dozens of boats for Operation Safe Crab.
Several signs at the port on Lower Harbor Road already point the way to fresh crab, listing the names of boats where fresh crab can be had.
Crab straight from a boat often costs less than fresh crab from local stores, but requires the buyer to cook and clean the crab, a messy job.