There has been a delay in the opening of Dungeness Crab Season this year. Ravenox is happy to bring you the news that it has finally begun. In accordance with preseason test results along with consultation with the ODA along with California and Washington fishery managers, Dungeness crab season has been opened coastwide (OR/WA border to the OR/CA border) as follows:
73 hr presoak began (setting gear): December 28, 2019 8:00AM
Hold Inspections: December 30, 2019 see schedule in industry notice above
Start date (pulling gear): December 31, 2019 9:00AM
See the industry notice HERE for more information.
Normally targeted to open on December 1st each year, the 2019 Dungeness Crab Season was delayed. The delay was primarily due to the meat quality test results not meeting standards until December 17th, 2019. This allowed for an official start date of December 31st, 2019. Testing had shown that crabs were too low in meat content which should comprise 25% of the crab's weight before they can be fished. Crab boats were permitted to set gear to prepare for the first pull just before the new year.
There was previously a ban on vessels taking or landing crab in an area closed for the meat quality delay. Any vessel violating this rule was not permitted to participate in fishing 30 days after the December 30th start. Vessels that were permitted in the December 15th opener south of the Sonoma-Mendocino county line are not able to set gear in Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties until after 12:01 am on Thursday, January 30, 2020. This rule also applies to various delayed areas in Washington and Oregon. Recreational and commercial crab harvesting is now open coast-wide.
This detailed PDF from the California Whale Group shows safe practices for minimizing whale harm in traps.
This video has a great bit on the liability changes for crabbers' gear harming whales with marked fishing gear:
The RAVENOX CRAB POT ESCAPE CORD KIT was specially designed after consulting with the Washington State University Beach Watchers and the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department. The kit not only includes the legal, 100% biodegradable cotton, 120-thread count 1/8-inch cord, but also includes bungee cord and bungee cord hooks to allow for lost traps to pop open after the cord degrades in seawater. These components allow for unique, independent applications that can be configured specifically to the shrimp pot or crab trap to allow for the successful escape of crabs and shrimp.
Here is a great video to exhibit how to modify your crab pot:
One great thing to remember when crab fishing is going at the time of day near low or high tide to maximize your catch. Another item to keep in mind is having clearly marked gear. A license is required for any person over 12 to participate in crabbing. For a more comprehensive look at best practices when it comes to crab fishing, check out the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's BEST PRACTICES LIST.
Have a safe and plentiful crab season!