“Prepared for the State/Federal Dungeness Crab Management Program.” Crabs molt every year. After they molt, their shells are soft and are not filled out with meat. It takes weeks for the crabs to fill out. The problem for fishery managers is that the timing of the crab molt varies from year to year, making it necessary to “sample” the crabs each year to learn when most crabs will be ready for harvesting. If the crabbing season opened too early, the crabs would be worth little. If the season opened too late, fishers would lose money. This document explains uniform criteria for determining crab condition that was worked out by a committee of fishery managers from Washington, Oregon and California.
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