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Oregon Dungeness crab season breaking records

After starting on time for the first season in years, crab fishermen have brought in about $80 million already, soaring past last season's revenue.

NEWPORT, Ore. — After starting on time for the first time in years, Oregon's Dungeness crab season is bringing in a record-breaking haul.

Fishermen have brought in about $80 million this season, which began Dec. 1, according to Tim Novotny with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. It's the most revenue since the 2017-2018 season, which brought in $74 million for the entire season, according to the commission. 

"Those crab fishermen are going to take that money that comes in and spend it locally and throughout the state," said Novotny.

Crabbing season lasts until August.

"Everything has fallen into place like we have not seen in a decade or longer," Novotny said. "It's just been unbelievable how everything has lined up for the fleet this year."

The strong season is a welcome change for those in the crabbing industry, which has been plagued by delays to the start of the season over recent years over a variety of factors — small crabs, toxins in the water, contentious price negotiations. The fish and crab industry was also hit hard by restaurant closures during the pandemic. 

RELATED: Dead zone lingers in ocean off Oregon Coast longer than expected

"This is the time we struggle because we have to make boat payments, and it's just been a relief and so much off our stress level," said Taunette Dixon, a small boat owner in Newport who works with the Newport Fisherman's Wives, an organization that supports families in the fishing industry.

Cities up and down the Oregon Coast benefit from a strong crab season, locals say. 

"When those people do well, businesses like mine do well, they come out to eat, they shop in the market, it feels good," said Laura Anderson, who owns Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport.

Fishermen have collected more than 15 million pounds of crab so far this season, Novotny said. There were only 12 million pounds of crab caught in all of last season. 

RELATED: Grant's Getaways: Dungeness crabs are back and ready for eating

 

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