A dire picture

State regulators have set the new Dungeness crab season.

Despite fears that the season opener for Dungeness crab could be further delayed, commercial fishermen will be able to set their gear Tuesday in parts of Oregon and Washington state, fishery managers announced.

Fishermen will be able to start pulling their gear on Friday.

The valuable commercial fishery traditionally starts on Dec. 1, but was delayed after tests showed crab had not filled out enough. In Oregon, from Cape Arago south to Gold Beach, crab are still below the state’s meat quality criteria and these areas will remain closed.

According to recent testing in Oregon and Washington state, crab in the areas that will open are just over the threshold.

Fishermen landed over 23 million pounds of crab in the 2017-18 season and brought in a record $74.2 million in ex-vessel value. That season also got off to a late start, delayed first by low meat yield, then by price negotiations, then by weather. Commercial boats didn’t hit the water until the end of January.

This season, fishery managers initially delayed the start of the season until mid-December due to low meat yield. The date was pushed back again pending further tests, which were then delayed because of bad weather.

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