Crab boats launch as season opens

The crab season has finally opened.

Crab boats and crab pots hit the water early Monday morning.

According to fishermen, seafood processors and crabbers in Newport agreed to a starting price of around $2.75 per pound. While fleets up and down the Oregon Coast have left the docks to set their gear, there is no official word yet on what prices they’ll likely be receiving, said Hugh Link, executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission.

The price reported in Newport is down from the average starting price of $2.89 that crabbers saw last season, but higher than what processors had initially offered. Price negotiations between processors and crabbers stalled last week, further delaying the start of a season that had already been delayed to allow crabs to fill out with meat. The commercial Dungeness season traditionally starts Dec. 1 but is sometimes delayed because of price negotiations or when crabs do not have enough meat. In recent years, high levels of the marine toxin domoic acid have also pushed the opening back.

On social media, many fishermen said they were disappointed over the lower price, with some writing that Newport crabbers broke the strike when they could have perhaps held out for more money. Other people posted prayers or simply wrote, “Good luck” or “Best of luck!” One woman posted photos of boats heading out of Coos Bay, bright lights shining in the dark. “Stay safe,” she wrote.

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