The dungeness crab season for the Oregon coast began January 1 this year and will run till mid-August. After a month, the crabbing has been very strong with over 13 million pounds of dungeness harvested already, that is only a million pounds shy of the entire 2016 season. Washington State is also having a great first month and California may as well once their numbers come in. Many of these delicious and meaty dungeness crabs are exported to China, where live crabs are very popular. However these landings do have a lingering dark side, one that kept the season closed until March last year.
The dungeness crab landings in Oregon are still showing elevated levels of domoic acid, a biotoxin caused by algae that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) in humans and other animals. Although it is not as bad as last year, it is still a concern and prompted Oregon authorities to close 65 miles of Southern Oregon coast to shellfishing. Although exports may be affected, industry leaders feel it is only a very small portion of a catch that should dwarf last year’s numbers in short order.
The dungeness is caught from Alaska to Southern California and is prized for its delicious meat, which can make up 25% of the crab’s weight. Dungeness crabbing is so economically important to the Oregon coast that it was designated the official “state crustacean” in 2009.
Source: Undercurrent News