With unsafe levels of domoic acid found in Dungeness crab caught off the Washington state coast, Oregon fishery managers say North Coast waters could remain closed to commercial crabbers until at least Feb. 15.

Traditionally, northern Oregon and southwest Washington open for the commercial Dungeness season together.

The two states planned to coordinate a joint opening of the fishery this season, but have been delayed by high levels of domoic acid in Washington crab. In Oregon, only the area from Cape Flacon north to the Washington border is still closed to commercial crab fishermen. The rest of the state is open and boats have started to set and pull gear after settling on a starting price per pound with wholesalers.

Fishery managers said they will continue to consult with industry advisors and managers in Washington, Oregon and California to see if a coordinated opening with Washington is possible ahead of Feb. 15.

If that is not achievable, they will open the closed area in Oregon with a line at the Columbia River on or around Feb. 15, independent of Washington.

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