NEWPORT — First, the season was delayed. Then, it was delayed again. And now that the Dungeness crab season is finally under way, the disappointments keep coming.
"The quality in Coos Bay is just as good as you'll ever see," said Rick Lilienthal, an Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission commissioner and crab fisherman. "They are beautiful. But we just don't have very many. I saw empty pots on the first pull, which is something I don't think I've ever seen. It's pretty much over with."
The season began on Monday just after midnight, after poor crab quality in some test sites forced a pair of two-week delays from the usual Dec. 1 start.
The low supply seems to be true from one end of Oregon to the other.
In Astoria, it's taking twice as many pots this year as last year to fill the boat with crab, said John Corbin, a fisherman of 35 years and also a member of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission.
"I've only had one of my boats come in and deliver one time," Corbin said. "It definitely took a lot more pots to fill up his boat than last year. We've filled the boat with 500 pots before. This year it took 1,000. I'm not necessarily calling it a bust, but the first pick wasn't the greatest."
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