Oregon greenlights crab season opener for Dec. 16


Northern California crab fishermen continued to refuse to fish Friday in hopes of securing a better season-opening price offer.

Meanwhile, Oregon's commercial crab season can open Dec. 16, after officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that test catches this week of crab out of Newport and Astoria showed the required amount of crab meat.

Oregon fishermen could be out on the water as early as Dec. 13 setting their gear.

Oregon's five fishermen's marketing associations will be headed to Newport next week to negotiate an opening day price.

The Northern California season opened Dec. 1, but no one is fishing commercially due to the price dispute.

Randy Smith, representative for the Crescent City crab fleet, said negotiations with buyers will be weighted heavily with the Oregon fleet.

California does not have a collective negotiating structure like Oregon, and fishermen's marketing associations negotiate price with individual fish buyers. So far California's fish buyers have offered fishermen $2.50 a pound.

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