SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Agriculture announced that commercial crabbing will open from Cape Arago to the California border on Feb 1.
Commercial crabbers in this area can set gear for a three-day pre-soak beginning Tuesday, Jan. 29 and start landing crab on Friday, Feb. 1. For more details on the commercial opening schedule, please see http://www.dfw.state.or.us/
Crab samples taken from the southern portion of this area indicate that levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid are still elevated in the viscera (guts) of crab. All crab harvested from south of Cape Blanco along the west coast will be required to have the viscera (guts) removed by a licensed crab processor prior to sale to ensure that crab going into the market are safe to consume.
“It is not ideal to open the fishery with a viscera removal requirement for these affected areas. Recently implemented rules by both ODA and ODFW gives us reassurance that we can track crab from the boat to the grocery store, and make certain that they are being processed, handled and marketed in a way that protects human health” said Isaak Stapleton, Program Director, Food Safety and Animal Health, Oregon Department of Agriculture.
ODA and ODFW will continue monitoring marine toxins in crab and shellfish to ensure levels in all other areas remain below alert levels and, in the, south of Cape Blanco area, to inform when the evisceration (gut-removal) requirement can be lifted for the commercial fishery and when recreational crab harvesting can open.
For more information on toxins, please call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at https:oda.direct/