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It may be a little longer before Dungeness crab season begins in Washington

Dungeness crabs caught and stacked into modified garbage bins on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008.
Dungeness crabs caught and stacked into modified garbage bins on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008. The Bellingham Herald file

Washington state officials have delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season because the meat levels are inadequate.

The season usually gets started on Washington’s coast on Dec. 1, but recent tests show the crabs do not have sufficient meat in the shells to meet industry standards for harvest, according to a news release by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The season will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 to allow time for the crabs to fill the shells with more meat – testing will take place after Thanksgiving to determine whether the fishery can open Dec. 16.

“It’s not unusual for crabs to need more time to fatten up,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the state. “We’ll re-evaluate in another week or two.”

Recreational crabbing remains open in Washington’s coastal waters as well as in several areas of Puget Sound, according to the news release. Information about recreation crab fishing in the state can be found on the agency’s website.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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