CHARLESTON — A commercial crab fishing season that was delayed for two weeks is drawing mixed reviews in the opening days. The quality of crab is great, experts say, but for fishermen and processors the season may be just average.
The season was delayed two weeks, after preseason testing showed the crab needed a little more time to fill with meat. It started at 12:01 a.m. Monday, after a pricing agreement was reached last Wednesday through annual state-supervised negotiations.
Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission Executive Director Hugh Link said the price opened at $2.65 a pound, but without a locked-in time so that it can change as market conditions warrant.
Oregon Department of Agriculture Business Development Manager Jerry Gardner, who along with staff supervised the negotiations, noted that this was the eighth time in the past 11 years the bargaining process has achieved a mutually agreeable opening price. This year’s price reflects a 15 percent increase over last year’s negotiated agreement.
“I congratulate everyone involved for working hard to find common ground and get the job done in time to get this important fishery underway,” Gardner said.
Terms, negotiated between the state’s five port crab marketing associations and five seafood processors, have been reviewed and formally ratified by ODA Director Katy Coba, as required by statute.
As of Tuesday afternoon Hallmark Fisheries production manager Scott Adams said that price was still holding.