Dungeness crab harvest delayed off Washington, Oregon coast

The key Dungeness crab harvest areas from Klipsan Beach, Washington, to Cape Falcon, Oregon, will not open until Feb. 1 because surveys found legal-sized males still lacked enough recoverable meat in their shells.

A policy group that includes the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife made the announcement late last week, The Seattle Times reported.

HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA- DECEMBER 29: Dungeness crabs are seen aboard fisherman Mike Vorak"u2019s boat at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. (Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

The late start to the 2022-2023 commercial season is a disappointment to crabbers. Last season, the harvest started Dec. 1, 2021.

The Dungeness crab harvest is Washington state’s most valuable commercial fishery. The seasons have generated on average $47.92 million to crabbers in the past decade.

Starting at 8 a.m. on Jan. 29, crabbers will have a 73-hour period to set their pots for the season beginning Feb. 1.

RELATED: Dungeness crab die-off underway along US West Coast

RELATED: WDFW: 30 pounds of invasive green crab confiscated from Seattle seafood market

Tribal ocean crab fisheries are underway.