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).
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.
No biological reference points have been developed for this stock.
The resource has been providing record landings in most recent years, and it appears to be healthy.
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.