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ODFW clarifies commercial crab pot regulations
November 13, 2009


NEWPORT, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is sending a notice today to all commercial Dungeness crab permit holders clarifying that there will be no new regulations or special enforcement plans for crab pot release mechanisms in the 2009-2010 season. The current Dungeness crab gear rule will remain in effect during the upcoming season.

In advance of the ocean season for commercial Dungeness crab which is expected to start as planned on December 1, 2009, there has been confusion in the crab industry about what rigging methods comply with the ODFW rule (OAR 635-005-0055 (4)).

 That rule requires that each pot have a release mechanism to allow crabs to escape from accidentally lost pots (derelict gear) and there are currently three rigging method options listed in the rule.

Mild steel hooks or untreated biodegradable cotton twine continue to be the only acceptable materials and are intended to last approximately 3-4 months before degrading and releasing any trapped crabs.  The cotton twine is woven into the crab pot, replacing a small section of the wire mesh to allow an escape portal.

The Oregon State Police will be taking enforcement action on commercial fishers whose crab pots are determined to not have such a release mechanism or have been altered so as to be non-functional.  

Because the specific allowable configuration of cotton twine weaving is unclear, ODFW will be testing the various rigging methods currently used by industry over the next few months to determine which methods best allow crab to escape from derelict pots within the intended time frame. With this information, new regulations will be put in place for the 2010-2011 crab season. This industry notice is in collaboration with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and the Oregon State Police.




Caren Braby (541) 867-0300, ext, 22
Brandon Ford (541) 867-4741



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