[ODFW-News] Commercial Dungeness crab harvest tops record
Odfw.News at STATE.OR.US
Mon Feb 7 12:49:45 PST 2005
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
For more information call Brandon Ford 541-867-0300, Ext. 277
Internet: www.dfw.state.or.us <http://www.dfw.state.or.us/>
For immediate release Monday, Feb. 7, 2005
Commercial Dungeness crab harvest tops record
NEWPORT - After only nine weeks of fishing, this season's commercial
Dungeness crab harvest in Oregon broke last season's all-time record
catch of 23 million pounds.
"Historically the Dungeness crab fishery harvests about 10 million
pounds and we've already more than doubled that," said Cyreis Schmitt,
of the Marine Resources Program for the Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife. "With seven months left in the season, we've topped last
year's record harvest and that record eclipsed any previous record by
more than 5 million pounds."
Last season's commercial Dungeness crab landings in Oregon were 23.7
million pounds, Schmitt said. Fish ticket tallies, which lag about a
week behind actual landings, were already more than that at 23.9 million
pounds on Friday afternoon.
"That's pretty much off the charts," said Nick Furman, executive
director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, a non-profit industry
marketing organization. "Conventional wisdom would say that this year
the landings would be about half. To follow one record year with another
record year is phenomenal."
Commercial crabbing opened along most of the Oregon coast on Dec. 1, but
this year's season had a split opener where fishing on the 30 miles of
coast north of Cape Falcon did not start until Jan. 15. In recent years,
80 percent of the commercial landings are in the first eight weeks of
the season, which lasts through August 14.
"The price is down a little bit from what it was last year, but that's
to be expected because of the amount of product that's coming in,"
Furman said. Currently the price is $1.40 and $1.50 a pound depending on
where you are on the coast. "It did dip to $1.25 for a while mainly
because of the amount of product," he said.
Fortunately the buyers are finding homes for the unexpected bounty. For
many years Dungeness crab was one of the West coast's best kept culinary
secrets. But demand is steadily increasing nationwide for this tasty
Furman attributes the bountiful harvest this season with good management
and a healthy cycle in the ocean. "The size, sex and season management
model seems to be working well for the crab resource," he said.
"The crabs harvested in any given year hatched three or four years
earlier," Schmitt said. "Conditions over the past few years must have
been favorable to crab because a large number of them survived to become
adults. By putting back all the females and the undersize (but sexually
mature) males we can maintain a healthy population even under less
The Dungeness crab fishery is the most valuable single-species fishery
in Oregon. The first commercial landings in Oregon were in 1889. Oregon
crabbers account for about one fourth of the total commercial Dungeness
catch from northern California to Alaska.
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