A portion of Oregon's commercial Dungeness crab fishery season is now scheduled to open Jan. 15, regulators said on Friday, bringing much needed supply onto the US market.

Fishing for Dungeness crab along the west coast of Oregon and Washington traditionally opens Dec.1, pending meat fill and biotoxin results. In recent years, that has been rare – 2021 was the first time since 2014 the fishery opened Dec. 1.

Oregon will open fishing along a 220-mile stretch of its coast from west of Portland south to Cape Arago. The season opens Feb. 1 from Cape Falcon north to Washington state.

Washington state announced plans to open a fishing area stretching from Klipsan Beach, including Willapa Bay, to and Cape Falcon Feb. 1

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife opened its commercial Dungeness crab fishery statewide on Dec. 31.

The amount of meat filling crab shells -- which determines the marketability of the crab caught -- now meets or exceeds criteria in all areas of Oregon, and biotoxins are below alert levels in all crab tested from Cape Arago north.

Domoic acid testing of crab will continue from Cape Arago south to the California border, but no date has been set for the fishery opening along that part of the Oregon coast.

Tim Novotny of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission said generally the fleet and industry support later season openings when necessary to ensure crab are ready.

"Look, everyone wants to start Dec. 1," Novotny said. "But the fishermen know that this process sets a high bar on purpose, so consumers know they're getting the highest quality and safest product possible."

Last season, the commercial crab harvest off the coast of Washington state was just over 10 million pounds. Over the last decade the catch in the area has averaged nearly 13 million pounds.

Oregon crabbers caught just over 17 million pounds last season, worth a record $90 million.

The global crab market has been hit by a combination of factors that have made supply of the shellfish limited, including a ban on direct imports of crab from Russia following that country's invasion of Ukraine last year.