SALEM, Ore. — After recreational crabbing along the southern Oregon coast was closed last week due to domoic acid levels, the Oregon Senate has now passed a bill aimed at better pinpointing where these toxins are flourishing. The bill will now go on to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
Under current conditions, whole crabbing regions have to be shut down in order to ensure safety. The bill would require more frequent testing of acid levels, so that affected areas could be more easily identified—and, ideally, these areas of closure would be much smaller in size.
Statements from both Democrat and Republican members of the Oregon House and Senate cited these closures due to domoic acid levels as hurtful to consumers and the local fishing industries. They mentioned the regional recreational closure from Cape Blanco to the California border, as well as a delay in the opening of commercial crabbing season, blaming both on the levels of domoic acid in crabs.
Commercial crabbing season has been delayed due to a combination of factors. State-wide, crabbing season was initially delayed due to underdeveloped levels of meat on crabs. Traditionally, crabbing season begins on December 1st of each year, however the season has been repeatedly pushed back to allow the crabs more time to develop. Now, acid levels in the wide stretch of southern Oregon's coast have plagued commercial crabbing, limiting where and how crabbers can pull in their catch.