Attention crab lovers: Dungeness season is upon us! Commercial crabbers around the state have readied their boats and pots because on December 16 the state gave the green light on harvesting the succulent crustaceans.

Robert Anthony, captain of the Liberty II out of Newport, says December is go-time because the crabs have regrown their hard shells that they shed over the summer. “The crabs are done with their molting, and they are in their best condition,” he says. “The crabs need to be full of meat, and they have to meet certain weight requirements.”

All that delicious meat doesn’t just taste good; it’s something you can feel good about eating. Oregon has the only sustainable Dungeness fishery in the world certified by the Marine Stewardship Counsel. Commercial fishermen and recreationalists alike are only allowed to keep male crabs measuring 6.5 inches across the shell. Females and smaller crabs must be returned to the sea to ensure healthy populations.

Anthony, who also owns Luna Sea Fish House in Yachats, is readying the winter menu as well. During Dungeness season, Luna Sea serves crab cocktail, a crab melt sandwich and a crab dinner, which consists of a whole crab, drawn butter, fries, sourdough garlic toast and house made coleslaw. Enjoy fresh crab at Luna Sea and at restaurants up and down the coast this winter!

Save the date: Mark your calendar for the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival in February, Astoria Warrenton Crab Seafood & Wine Festival in April and the Charleston Seafood Festival in August.

Get started crabbing:
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Crabbing and Clamming Information
Crabbing 101 

About the Author: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

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