A very special thanks to:
For the grant towards the Life Jacket Loaner Program
Washington, Oregon, and California have all seen significant closures to their Dungeness fisheries this year. Domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin, has causes state Fish and Wildlife authorities to close fisheries up and down the west coast, ensuring safe crab for both recreational fishers and Commercial fishers alike. Though the toxin levels are naturally decreasing, and both Washington and Oregon have begun their 2016 seasons, the spreads of misinformation has been rampant, resulting in a negative impact to the industry.
With the recent start of the season, WEfish, a non-profit based in Westport, WA that supports the commercial fishing industry, is determined to spread the news that Washginton crab is clean, fresh, and 100% safe.
On Tuesday January 5th, WEfish hosted local and regional legislators to enjoy some of the fresh crab. Local mayors, county commissioners, Representatives and Senators were all in attendance. Sent directly from Ocean Gold, a local processor that at peak season employs hundreds of workers, the crowd was pleased to enjoy the fresh Dungeness crab. The leaders were proud to stand behind their commercial fishing industry- an economic backbone to most coastal Washington communities. Several members of WEfish, decked out in their xtratuf fishing boots, were happy to serve crab cocktails and spread the word about their catch. “The public’s perception of the safety of our seafood is directly related to our ability to put food on the table,” said Adrienne Jones, member of WEfish. Jones is married to a long time crabber Justin Jones, and together the couple recently purchased their own boat and crab operation. Molly Bold, president of WEfish, shared with the legislators, “Our need for your support is vital. Thank you for joining us today- you are not only showing the public that Washington Dungeness crab is safe and better than ever, you are showing your constituents and this industry that you support their way of life.”
When asked his feelings on the safety of the crab, Rep. Brian Blake stated “Undoubtedly! Our regulatory program is one of the finest. This crab is the safest in the world. “
Senator Dean Takko, “If this crab wasn’t safe, it wouldn’t be on the shelves.”
Al Carter, with Ocean Companies, states “Washington State has the most stringent testing in the world, so Washington Dungeness crab is 100% safe to eat. Our communities depend on safe and sustainable fisheries. We applaud the efforts to keep our fishery safe and sustainable. From our pots to your table, fresh as can be. EAT MORE CRAB”
“To hear our local leaders touting the value and importance of our fishing fleet is awesome” says Bold. “It hasn’t always been this way. “ WEfish was formed with the express interest to promote and educate, the public on the value of commercial fishing, and to serve the commercial fishing community. Tuesday’s crab event was one way to accomplish that mission. Maintaining a positive relationship with the public, even in the midst of domoic acid issues, is critical to the industry. Washington’s Seafood Industry is a wonderful story- comprised mostly of small family businesses, harvesters on hundreds of individual boats that employ 3-4 people on average. Together, their catch results in a multi-billion dollar impact to Washington’s economy.
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