Best Fishing in Oregon

Updated: Recreational Crabbing Open on Entire Oregon Coast

Recreational crabbing is currently open along the entire Oregon coast.

Recent restrictions due to potentially toxic levels of domoic acid, including one as recently as early February 2017, have been lifted and crabs are considered safe to eat.

However, currently there is a closure of the recreational crab fishery from the Coos Bay North Jetty to Heceta Head, north of Florence, due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This closure includes Winchester Bay and the Siuslaw River in Florence. Crabbing within Coos Bay remains open.

Currently, ODFW’s regular crabbing rules apply to all coastal crabbing areas. Those regulations include year-round crabbing in bays and estuaries and ocean closures only from Oct. 16 to Nov. 30.

Recent closures based on potentially toxic levels of domoic acid had affected larger areas of the Oregon coast during parts of November and December.

Before you plan a crabbing trip, check the state website linked in the news release below as well as our Best Crabbing Bays in Oregon page.

Here are the most recent Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife news releases related to crabbing:

(February 10, 2017)The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have announced the reopening of recreational crabbing and lifting of commercial crabbing restrictions from the north Jetty of Coos Bay to Heceta Head, north of Florence. Dungeness crab viscera samples taken from the area indicate levels of the marine toxin domoic acid have dropped and remain below the alert level. Crab harvesting was closed or restricted in that portion of the central coast last week.

With the reopening and lifting of restrictions, all harvesting of crab is open along the entire Oregon Coast.

ODA and ODFW will continue monitoring marine toxins in crab and shellfish to ensure that the concentrations remain below the alert level.

Despite the recent closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants are safe for consumers.

It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking, which includes removal and discard of the internal organs and gills.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.

(February 1, 2017) NEWPORT, Ore.– The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today the immediate closure of the recreational crab fishery from the Coos Bay North Jetty to Heceta Head, north of Florence, due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This closure includes Winchester Bay and the Siuslaw River in Florence. Crabbing within Coos Bay remains open.

Elevated domoic acid levels were found in the viscera of Dungeness crab collected offshore near Winchester Bay, triggering a biotoxin closure. The remaining areas of the coastline south of Coos Bay and north of Heceta Head will remain open for recreational crabbing. Decisions regarding the commercial fishery for the affected area will be made soon.

It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking. Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills. Despite the closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers.

Domoic acid or amnesic shellfish toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment. ODA will continue to test for toxins in the coming weeks. Removal of the advisory requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.

(December 20, 2016) SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce that the ocean and bay recreational crab fishery is now open in all areas along the Oregon coast.

Recreational crabbing was previously closed in many areas due to elevated levels of domoic acid in Dungeness crab viscera. The most recent tests show levels of domoic acid are safe in all areas tested.

The commercial fishery for Dungeness crab in Oregon waters south of Cape Blanco began on Dec. 18. Changes to the status of the ocean commercial fishery in the region between Cape Blanco and the OR/WA border will be considered later this week, in consultation with the commercial crab industry and the Washington and California Fish and Wildlife agencies.

It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking. Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills.

Despite the closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers because these products were not harvested in areas closed for biotoxins.

Domoic acid or amnesic shellfish toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.