The opening price for Oregon Dungeness crab was set last week at $1.50 per pound, following negotiations between harvesters and processors that were supervised by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The price will remain at that level for the first 30 days of the season, after which supply and demand will determine the price.

Crab season begins for most of the Oregon Coast on Wednesday.

However north of Cape Falcon and in Washington the season will begin on Dec. 15 to allow the crab more time to grow.

This year's price is five cents lower than the set price in 2003, in part because of a good supply of crab from other sources including Canada, according to the agriculture department.

"Both sides are to be commended for working through the process of long discussions and difficult negotiations," ODA director Katy Coba said. "This agreement will assure that quality Oregon Dungeness crab will be available to consumers for the holiday."

This is the second season in which fishermen's associations and processors have jointly participated in ODA-supervised price talks. The agency said that the process has streamlined negotiations and enabled better communication between involved parties.

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