NEWPORT, Ore. — For the first time in several years, crabbing season on the Oregon Coast started on time on Dec. 1, the season opener.
Taunette Dixon is with the Newport Fishermen’s Wives, a group dedicated to supporting families in the fishing industry.
At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, fleets were able to start pulling up crab pots placed a few days before, Dixon said. It’s the first time in about seven years that the crabbing season has started on the season’s opening day.
Delays to the start of the crabbing season can involve multiple factors, from the condition and growth of the crabs to price negotiations, she said.
“It's not only great for our fleet but our economy in this town. This is a huge part of our economy,” Dixon added.
Crab attracts tourists and money to Newport. Tony Bixler is the general manager at Local Ocean Seafoods, a restaurant and fish market, and said crab is the backbone of the local economy.
“Almost every table that comes in goes where’s the crab? Where's the crab,” said Bixler.
Fishmonger Amber Morris is known as the “fish goddess” at Local Ocean. Morris said they have been getting many calls.
“They want to know if the crab’s in,” Morris said.
Local Ocean Seafoods is expecting to have crab ready to serve up by Thursday.
Oregon-based Pacific Seafood is one of the largest seafood providers in the United States. Tyson Yeck, vice president of corporate key accounts, was also excited about the start of crab season being on time.
“It means a ton to both Pacific Seafood as well as the entire industry. We're incredibly excited about this. This is the first time that there's been a season opener coastwide since 2014-2015 season and the fleet's been dropping gear since this Monday,” said Yeck.
“There's 117,000 crab pots that have been set here in Oregon in the last 72 hours.”
But this year, for the Newport community the on-time start to the crab season means less stress over the holidays. Dixon said in previous years when the crab season was delayed, it would be difficult for some families to afford food and presents for the holidays.
“Actually, I talked to a fisherman and he said there’s gonna be Christmas. Everybody’s gonna have a Christmas this year. There will be presents under the tree,” said Morris.
“Being able to not worry about bills, it’s a weight lifted from all of us,” Dixon said.
“People are really excited. I think it brings a lot of hope and cheer in in the community and that trickles down to everybody else,” said Bixler.