The start of the 2022/2023 Dungeness crab along the US West Coast is delayed until at Dec. 15, state regulators announced Friday.
The fishery traditionally opens on Dec. 1, but rarely over the past decade has it opened on time.
State regulators from California, Washington and Oregon cited test results showing that multiple sites along the coast do not currently meet the minimum meat recovery criteria to permit the fishery to open.
Management protocols specify that after the first round of testing, if any area does not meet the minimum meat recovery criteria of between 23 - 24 percent a delay is required, and additional testing is conducted before a season opening date can be confirmed.
A second round of both meat recovery and domoic acid testing is scheduled for early December.
The fishery delay comes at a time when the global crab supply chain is in disarray.
Additionally, crab from Russia has been banned from many global markets as a result of that country's invasion of Ukraine in February.
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.