Visitors to the Oregon Coast Aquarium will have something to get crabby about on December 27. Crab Fisheries Day will offer guests the opportunity to engage in claws-on learning about Oregon’s crab fisheries and the Aquarium’s Dungeness crabs.
Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) is an iconic species of the West Coast, sought after by humans and non-humans alike for their delicious and abundant meat. Considered the most valuable single-species commercial fishery in Oregon, some 14 million pounds of crab are landed each season from coastal Oregon and the Columbia River estuary. The planktonic larvae of these crabs cloud intertidal waters each fall, providing sustenance to everything from juvenile rockfish and salmon to migrating gray whales.
This unique Aquarium event highlights the significance of crabs to Oregon’s coastal economy and provides an in-depth look at these amphibious crustaceans. “Crab Fisheries Day happens every year at the Aquarium. It is a day full of fun that is meant to increase awareness of Newport’s local Dungeness Crab Fishery,” said Sally Edwards, an Education Specialist at the Aquarium who organizes the event.
Animal keepers that care for the Aquarium’s fishes and invertebrates, known as aquarists, will host crab presentations and dissections so that guests can get up close and personal with the crustaceans. Crab-themed kids’ activities include crafts, story-time, and games. Experience an extra taste of Crab Fisheries Day with the Dungeness Crab Special to be served by our café.
The Aquarium is hosting the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA, Oregon State Parks, the Coast Guard Axillary, and Oregon State University’s Marine Resource Management Program. All aspects of Dungeness crab will be covered at their displays, from live animals with information on anatomy and behavior, to their role as one of Oregon’s most important commercial fisheries, to the marine and estuarine environments that nurture them. The day will conclude with a free raffle based on guest’s newly acquired crab knowledge.
Crab Fishery Day activities are free with Aquarium admission. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is open every day this winter from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for December 25. For more information visit aquarium.org or call (541) 867-3474.
Information and photos provided by Oregon Coast Aquarium