Help for Struggling Coastal Communities

Help for Struggling Coastal Communities

Help for Struggling Coastal Communities. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

As many of you may know I’m an avid scuba diver. Many weekends will find me beneath the waves of the Puget Sound or any other large body of water checking out the local wildlife. Many times I have had crab fishermen jokingly ask me to stuff their crab pots with some of the many King or Dungeness crabs I encounter. Well Oregon's Dungeness crab season is off to a blazing start, which is great news for struggling coastal communities. One month of decent weather and good fishing has carried Oregon's Dungeness crab fishery into the New Year with a boat load of momentum.

FURMAN:  If the season ended tomorrow, it would be an above average season and yet, we still have got seven and half months to go.

Nick Furman of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission says more than 15 million pounds has been harvested in just four weeks. That represents more than 27 million dollars of value to the fishermen and considerably more for onshore processors. It may not end up being a record setting harvest but it's shaping up to possibly be one of the best. And while the holidays are over, there is still plenty of opportunity for consumers to enjoy local crab.

FURMAN:  We think there is wonderful opportunity for Dungeness in January, February, March and even into the spring and April. With things like the Super Bowl coming up, Valentine's Day coming up, you know it's sacrilegious to have lobster on Valentine's Day.

So far, so good. This year's Dungeness harvest is described as high volume, high quality, and good size crab. It appears there will be plenty of supply to meet not only local demand, but extend all across the country and, in some cases, to international markets. Furman says Oregon Dungeness crab has built a great reputation beyond the region and is considered a premium product across the country.

FURMAN: It's really gone from being a West Coast regional favorite to basically something that's consumed and enjoyed nationwide.

Furman says the great crab harvest in December is welcome news to Oregon's coastal economy since money earned by crabbers is usually spent during the holidays.

FURMAN: There isn't a Ford or a Dodge or a Chevy dealer on the coast that isn't smiling right now because fishermen have a habit of going out and buying new pickups in December to beat the tax man, especially in a year like this.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.


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