On Monday, December 6, 2021, an ODFW biologist was taking a sample of commercially caught Dungeness crabs at a fish processing facility in Warrenton when he noticed numerous undersized crabs from a boat. The boat landed with 46,071 pounds of Dungeness crabs, and the biologist’s samples suggested a large number of undersized crabs were in the discharge.

The Oregon State Police’s Fish and Wildlife Troopers, along with 14 members of the Columbia River U.S. Coast Guard, responded to the fish plant and began surveying the crab. A total of 11,778 pounds of crabs were measured, of which 2,682 pounds (over 22%) of the crabs examined were found to be too small. The value of the crab at the time of landing was $ 4.75 per pound, which would add the estimated value of the undersized crabs in this shipment to over $ 49,000.

In addition to not being allowed to keep female crabs, the commercial size for capturing male Dungeness crabs in Oregon is 6¼ inches, and has been that size since 1948. Banning female and undersized male crabs is a key strategy Maintain sustainability of the shrimp fishery in Dungeness.

Caren Braby, program manager for the ODFW Marine Resource Program, said, “The sustainability of the Dungeness shrimp fishery is a point of pride and management success in Oregon. Deliberately or negligently harvesting small crabs harms Oregon’s sustainability brand, deprives legal harvesters of future crabs, and leads to irresponsible waste of crabs. We commend the efforts of the OSP and the USCG to correct this violation of fishing regulations and make it clear that short crabs introduced through the fishery will not be tolerated. “

The crab boat captain has been cited for ingesting Undersized Commercial Dungeness Crab and has been released. In addition to criminal charges, the captain can also be awarded compensation for the damage associated with taking the crab that has turned out to be too small up to twice the average market value.

Robert Grigsby, USCG’s maritime enforcement specialist, said, “Last week’s operation with the Coast Guard’s Columbia River Enforcement Department and Oregon State Police, Fish and Wildlife Division highlighted the opportunities in which state and federal law enforcement agencies are acting Force multiplier can work together to enforce state fisheries on the Oregon Coast. Working closely with the OSP sends a bright signal to the crab fleet that we are ready and able to help each other enforce laws that will enable the maintenance of a critical fishery to the economy of Oregon. “

Oregon State Police Lieutenant Ryan Howell added, “Without the willingness of USCG members to step in and help, a significant number of additional soldiers from other patrol areas would have been required to sample this dump. Oregon State Police are grateful for all of the assistance USCG is providing along the Oregon coast, particularly with enforcement efforts for our commercial fishery. “


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