Nov 18 2014

Dungeness crab fishery opens on Central California Coast, hundreds of boats participate

Published with permission from SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton Nov. 18, 2014
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The Central California dungeness crab season opened on Saturday, and initial reports are that the catches are going well.

“”We’re guardedly optimistic,” said Zeke Grader executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association.

“We could very well be looking at year records for this time of year, but that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily more crab than in previous years, it just means more crab has been harvested earlier.”

Each year vessels in the northern zones of California and Oregon have to make a decision whether to participate in the early Bay Area fishery that opens November 15th, or wait until the regular season opens in the Northern sections, which usually is around December 1st, but can be delayed by slow growth of the crabs.

Any vessel fishing in the southern zone has to wait 30 days after the northern seasons open before itr can return to fish in the northern areas.

This year, most boats from Crescent city in Northern California set out to fish the Bay area, based on reports of abundant crabs, and the recent facts that the central area has landed more crab than the north.

Last year, the northern area landed about 6.68 million lbs, while the southern area landed 10.41 million lbs.  This is different than the historical average, where landings are generally higher in the north.

In Northern California, Oregon and Washington, the opening is determined by when a test fishery operated by the three states shows the crabs have sufficient meat fill, above 25%.  This year, the tests are being done as late as possible.

Anecdotal reports from some of the sport fisheries suggest the crabs have good meat fill, and that the season may open on December 1st.

Tests for Eureka and Crescent city should be available later this week.

Between 2013 and 2014, dungeness landings coast wide fell about 28%.  The shortfall, combined with strong live market demand from china, has led to consistently high dungeness prices over the past year.


View original post at: SeafoodNews.com

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