ODFW INDUSTRY NOTICE TO: COMMERCIAL DUNGENESS CRAB FISHERS AND PROCESSORS
Information on 2004-2005 Commercial Dungeness Crab
Season Opener Regulations
Effective immediately, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has adopted a temporary rule to suspend the transfer of crab vessel permits from one vessel to another (different) vessel until February 15, 2005, except in the event a vessel is unintentionally destroyed. The reasons for this suspension are to provide for an orderly opening of the fishery north of Cape Falcon and to preserve the intent of the 30-day delay provisions for split season openers, as specified under the Dungeness Crab Tri-State process. In late November, ODFW adopted a temporary rule to split the opening date for the 2004-05 ocean commercial Dungeness crab fishery. The area from Cape Falcon (45°46' 00" N. Lat.) south to the OR/CA border, as well as California north of Sonoma county, opened on December 1, 2004. The area north of Cape Falcon to the OR/WA border remains closed until January 15, 2005.
To promote a “fair start” for all crab fishermen, those vessels fishing south of Cape Falcon must wait 30 days following the opening date north of Cape Falcon to fish in the northern area. Due to the delayed opener north of Cape Falcon until January 15, 2005, the date for vessels fishing south to begin fishing north of Cape Falcon is February 14, 2005. Permit transfers from one vessel to another vessel before the start of the fishery north of Cape Falcon may undermine an orderly fishery and the Tri-State process. The suspension of permit transfers between vessels until February 15, 2005 preserves the intent of the “fair start” provision.
ODFW will accept applications to transfer crab vessel permits at any time, but will not authorize the transfer of any permit from one vessel to another vessel, except when the vessel is unintentionally destroyed, until February 15, 2005.
Reminders for Fishing North of Cape Falcon:
The ocean commercial Dungeness crab fishery pre-soak period is 64 hours prior to the opening of the fishery, so pre-soak begins at 8:00 a.m. on January 12, 2005.
The date for hold inspections for vessels planning to fish north of Cape Falcon is January 14, 2005, for ports north of Cape Falcon, including the Warrenton/Astoria area. The vessel hold inspection has an added requirement for fishermen to specify the maximum number of pots they intend to fish. Each vessel hold inspection certificate must be signed by the vessel operator or owner, not by a crewman.
Due to an extended closure by the State of Washington off of the North coast of Washington to accommodate the Tribal fisheries, Oregon fishers will be prohibited from fishing off those fishing grounds through March 1st. It is unlawful for any boat carrying an Oregon permit to take, land, or possess Dungeness crab taken north of a line at 46°53’18” N. Latitude (Point Chehalis) until March 1, 2005. When that fishery re-opens on March 1, 2005, the state of Washington will impose a 100 pot limit in those waters.
When a vessel and crab permit are sold to a new owner or leased, a declaration that the vessel fished south of Cape Falcon during the 2004-05 season remains with the vessel, even after the change of ownership or lease agreement. Therefore, the new owner or lessee may not use this vessel and permit to participate in the crab fishery north of Cape Falcon prior to February 14, 2005.
Please contact ODFW Marine Resources Program or Oregon State Police if you have further questions.
For general questions call Keith Matteson or Cyreis Schmitt in the Newport MRP office at (541) 867-4741. The media contact is Brandon Ford at (541) 867-4741.
For questions specific to your area, contact your local MRP field office:
Astoria Marine Field Lab (503) 325-2462
Charleston Field Office (541) 888-5515
Brookings Field Office (541) 412-7364
For vessel hold inspections please call the Oregon State Police
Astoria: (503) 325-5515
Coos Bay: (541) 269-5999
Gold Beach: (541) 247-6641
Newport: (541) 265-5354
Tillamook: (503) 842-2899