West Coast Dungeness Crab Stable or Increasing Even With Intensive Harvest, Research Shows

The West Coast Dungeness crab fishery doesn’t just support the most valuable annual harvest of seafood on the West Coast. It’s a fishery that just keeps on giving.

Fishermen from California to Washington caught almost all the available legal-size male Dungeness crab each year in the last few decades. However, the crab population has either remained stable or continued to increase, according to the first thorough population estimate of the West Coast Dungeness stocks.

“The catches and abundance in Central California especially are increasing, which is pretty remarkable to see year after year,” said Kate Richerson, a research scientist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. Richerson is the lead author of the new study published in the journal Fisheries Research. “There’s reason to be optimistic that this fishery will continue to be one of the most productive and on the West Coast.”

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