Crab fishing to open Jan. 4 on Washington coast after monthlong delay

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington's commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open in coastal waters Jan. 4 after a monthlong delay.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fishery managers delayed the fishery opening, initially scheduled Dec. 1, to conduct additional marine toxin testing and coordinate coastal openings with Oregon.

Washington's commercial fishery opening includes waters from the mouth of the Columbia River north to Destruction Island as well as Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay. Crabbers can set their pots in this area on Jan. 1. The area north of Destruction Island will open later in coordination with tribal co-managers.

The Washington commercial crab fishery has an average annual value of $38 million.

Recreational crabbing is open in all of Washington's coastal waters and in Puget Sound, where marine toxins in crab haven't been a problem.