Last updated on 28 February 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Cancer magister

SPECIES NAME(s)

Dungeness crab

COMMON NAMES

Dungies, Market crab

The stock structure of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) on the Pacific coast of North America is not clear, with studies from Oregon showing no evidence of sub-structuring (O’Malley K, and Roegner C 2013) but studies from British Columbia showed differentiation of several populations (Beacham TD and Supernault J 2008). Further genetic studies with a broader scope are currently underway. Annual stock assessments are not conducted in Oregon. The fishery is managed state-wide based on size, sex and season restrictions (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 2014).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery is rigorously managed with gear, sex, season, and other controls.
  • Male-only harvest, in particular, helps preserve reproductive potential of the stock.
  • The resource remains healthy. 
Weaknesses
  • With no stock assessment, estimates of abundance and overall population condition depend mainly on harvest data, which may vary independently of resource condition.
  • Climatic and environmental change, including a recurrent hypoxic zone off Oregon—a minor source of mortality so far—represent an emerging concern. 

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 8

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

≥ 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Monitor fishery and management system for any changes that could jeopardize MSC re-certification.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Support the sustainability achievements of this fishery by sourcing this product, and ensure that the producers are aware that sustainability certification played a role in your decision to source this product.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Oregon Dungeness Crab:

    Withdrawn

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
US Oregon United States Pots

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths
  • Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery is rigorously managed with gear, sex, season, and other controls.
  • Male-only harvest, in particular, helps preserve reproductive potential of the stock.
  • The resource remains healthy. 
Weaknesses
  • With no stock assessment, estimates of abundance and overall population condition depend mainly on harvest data, which may vary independently of resource condition.
  • Climatic and environmental change, including a recurrent hypoxic zone off Oregon—a minor source of mortality so far—represent an emerging concern. 
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 11 February 2017

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Monitor fishery and management system for any changes that could jeopardize MSC re-certification.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Support the sustainability achievements of this fishery by sourcing this product, and ensure that the producers are aware that sustainability certification played a role in your decision to source this product.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

No stock assessments are conducted. Fish tickets, processor reports, and some dockside sampling provide harvest data, which is the main index of abundance. However, recent research at the University of Oregon demonstrated a potentially useful indicator of recruitment to adult population based on timing of spring upwelling, which correctly predicted a reduced catch in the winter of 2006-2007 (The Research Group/ODFW/OCZMA, 2007; Ross, 2007).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Despite the lack of accurate biomass data, regulations prohibit females and soft shell crab from being landed, preserving reproductive potential; minimum size limit is designed to ensure that males have one or two years to mate prior to entering the fishery (Balsiger, 2006). The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife monitors and regulates harvests. Oregon, California, and Washington fisheries agencies cooperate and share data used to open seasons each winter (meat fill ratio), health testing (domoic acid), and other shared management concerns through a program administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.
 

Reference Points

No biological reference points have been developed for this stock.

CURRENT STATUS

The resource has been providing record landings in most recent years, and it appears to be healthy.  
 

Trends

Dungeness crab stocks vary widely, and fluctuating harvests are the main (though imperfect) gauge for abundance. Crab landings were at record levels in three of the last four years, and catch per unit effort has been increasing steadily for 25 years.
 

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT
Recovery Plans

None indicated.
 

COMPLIANCE

Compliance with commercial Dungeness crab fishing regulations is considered to be good in Oregon.
 

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Little to no impact on protected and endangered species has been documented. Impacts of Dungeness crab gear are generally considered low. Entanglement of protected species in crab gear occasionally has been reported in some regions, but little evidence of this problem has been found for Dungeness crab gear in Oregon and neighboring states. A derelict gear removal and monitoring project in Puget Sound (sponsored by the Northwest Straits Commission, NOAA, and WDFW) found no evidence of any impact on protected species caused by derelict crab pots (NRC, 2007).
 

Other Species

Most bycatch is sub-legal, female, or soft shell Dungeness crab.  Possession is illegal, and regulations require return of these animals to the water within 15 minutes.
 

HABITAT

Although Dungeness crab pots are not suspected of any significant habitat impact, changes in habitat (including climate/oceanography, predation, and trawl management) can affect this stock. Predation by sea otters (Enhydra lutris) has concerned fishery managers in some regions, but Oregon’s only otter sighting in decades was a single male reported in 2004 and 2005 (Wolfe, 2005). Invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) populations may represent a more serious threat to Dungeness crab through food competition and direct predation (Cascorbi, 2004). Climatic changes, including El Nino, may also affect Dungeness crab stocks. Dungeness crab in some areas may be vulnerable to pollution from terrestrial runoff (Cascorbi, 2004). A hypoxic “dead zone” on the Central Oregon coast has occurred since 2002, spreading north to Washington in 2006 and causing crab kills (NASA, 2006). Measures to protect softshell and molting crabs from trawl impacts have been implemented (ODFW, April 2007), but concerns were raised in 2007 about potential trawl impacts from trawlers displaced into shallow areas by a rockfish Conservation Area.
 

Marine Reserves

Some conservationists and scientists have sought to set aside no-take zones, or marine protected areas, for research and preservation (The Research Group, 2007).
 

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 11 February 2017

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Stock is not quota managed and routine assessments are not conducted.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Managers follow scientific advice when available

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Harvester comply with regulations

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Stock status is unknown, but indices of abundance are stable.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Stock status is unknown, but indices of abundance are stable, however landings have fallen since 2003-2006 by half

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.

Download Source Data

Registered users can download the original data file for calculating the scores after logging in. If you wish, you can Register now.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Oregon Dungeness Crab

STATUS

Withdrawn on 30 November 2015

Sources

Credits
  1. Scientific Certification Systems. 2012.1st year Surveillance Audit Report: Oregon Dungeness Crab Fishery. http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified/pacific/oregon-dungeness-crab/assessment-downloads-1/20120117_SR.pdf

  2. Daume, S., DeAlteris, J. 2013. Oregon Dungnee Crab. 2nd Year MSC Surveillance Audit Report. Scientific Certification Systems, March 2013. 19pp http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/oregon-dungeness-crab/assessment-downloads-1/20130311_SR_CRA93.pdf

  3. Daume, S., DeAlteris, J., 2014. Third Annual Surveillance Audit Report Oregon Dungeness Crab Fishery. SCS Global Services, April 2014. 26pp http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/oregon-dungeness-crab/assessment-downloads-1/20140428_SR_CRA93.pdf

  4. Scientific Certification Systems. 2010. MSC Final Report: Oregon Dungeness Crab Fishery. http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified/pacific/oregon-dungeness-crab/assessment-downloads-1/ODC_V4_Final-Report_27Oct2010.pdf

  5. Seafood Watch. 2007. Seafood Watch Seafood Report Dungeness crab, US Pacific Monterey Bay Aquarium http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/MBA_SeafoodWatch_DungenessCrabReport.pdf

  6. Vincent, A., DeAlteris, J., 2014. Oregon dungeness crab. 4th MSC Surveillance Audit Report. SCS Global Services, November 2014. 27pp http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/oregon-dungeness-crab/assessment-downloads-1/20141127_SR_CRA093.pdf

  7. Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (n.d.). http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyareasoutheast.dungenesscrab_research.

  8. Beacham TD and Supernault J. 2008. Population Structure of Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister) in British Columbia. Journal of Shellfish Research 27(4):901-906.

  9. O’Malley K, and Roegner C. 2013. Evaluating the population genetic structure of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) off the Oregon coast. Oregon Wave Energy Trust.

References

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