Dungeness crab

Dungeness crab fisheries on the Washington coast from areas south of Point Chehalis will reopen to crab fishing .

OLYMPIA — Effective immediately, recreational Dungeness crab fisheries on the Washington coast from areas south of Point Chehalis will reopen to crab fishing — including the popular waters of Willapa Bay. Inside the Columbia River, inside Grays Harbor and coastal areas north to Cape Flattery also remain open for crabbing.

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife fishery managers are able to reopen these areas after testing showed domoic acid levels in crab met standards for safe consumption.

“We are hoping that the drop in marine toxin levels holds, and our recreational fishers will have plenty of opportunity to put some crabs in pots,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

Recreational crab fishing has been closed over recent months in many areas due to marine toxins. Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful and even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.

“WDFW, working closely with the Department of Health, will continue marine toxin sampling in all marine areas,” said Ayres.

Crabbing in marine areas east of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line; including that portion of MA 4 (Neah Bay) and all of MAs 5-13 in Puget Sound remain closed. At this time, razor clam digs throughout Washington also remain closed.

Commercial crab rule eased

Due to low levels of domoic acid in recent crab samples taken from all coastal Washington sample locations, WDFW is removing evisceration requirements for commercial crabbers in all areas.

Hold inspection certificate numbers no longer need to be noted on fish tickets. While there was a delay in getting the domoic acid results from the Washington Department of Health laboratory, all crab currently onboard are not required to be eviscerated.

This information and future updates will also be available on WDFW web page: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/crab/coastal/

Crabbers with questions about this or other regulations pertaining to the coastal Dungeness crab fishery, contact Dan Ayres at 360-470-3557 or Robert Morgan at 360-480-8596.

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