Eder Family Dungeness Crab Research Fund 

Dungeness crab is an important part of the Northwest’s seafood heritage. Commercially harvested since the 1800’s, Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable ‘single species’ fishery. The Eder Family Fund for Dungeness Crab Research supports research related to this iconic species.

View Montana McLeod's 2021 State of the Coast Presentation on Dungeness Crab HERE





Researching to improve our ability to forecast landings based on pre-season crab surveys, improving the economic health of the fishery.

Will White, Assistant Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, College of Agricultural Sciences

Sarah Henkel, Associate Professor, Senior Research, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Integrative Biology

Francis Chan, Associate Professor, Department of Integrated Biology, College of Science

Will White, Sarah Henkel, and Francis Chan have been researching Dungeness crabs under the fund. Dungeness crabs are an important part of the Pacific coast ecosystem and the most valuable resource harvested from Oregon's coastal waters. The Dungeness crab fishery is an iconic part of the coastal economy, and being able to forecast the expected landings in a given year is important to the economics of the fishing fleet. An unknown factor in those predictions is the mortality rate of male crabs in the year before they grow large enough to be harvested. This project will take repeated samples of sub-legal-sized crabs in the spring, summer, and fall, (and make use of samples of crabs in those seasons in past years) to estimate crab mortality leading up to the winter harvest season. The results will improve our ability to forecast landings based on pre-season crab surveys, improving the economic health of the fishery.

View the full report HERE.

Understanding crab movement in varied habitats and how it relates to food availability

Sarah Henkel, Associate Professor, Senior Research, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Integrative Biology

Curtis Roegner, NOAA Fisheries, Point Adams Research Station, Hammond, OR

Dungeness crab distribution and movements are of particular interest due to their high commercial and recreational value. They are both abundant and highly mobile. However, we find a mismatch in the amount of benthic prey on the Oregon shelf and energetic requirements of the estimated biomass of Dungeness. We hypothesize that their high mobility and the success of the fishery occur because crabs are constantly foraging for limited resources. We expect crabs will be less mobile in areas with natural/artificial reefs that could provide feeding opportunities. We will compare crab residency at a sandy site south of the Mouth of the Columbia River to that around rocky reef in the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve using acoustic telemetry. We will compare crab movements between the sites with different habitats and examine the implications for crab foraging and place-based protections.

View the full report HERE

Observing the presence of harmful algae on Heceta Bank, Oregon and its relation  with domoic acid

Xiuning Du, Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport Oregon

The harmful algae Pseudo-nitzschia is historically present on the west coast of the United States, and is known to produce a biotoxin domoic acid which can lead to closures of commercial and recreational shellfish and Dungeness crab fisheries. The availability of toxic Pseudo-nitzschia cells in the nearby environment where crabs live likely induces prolonged impacts on crab safe harvest. This project aims to collect Pseudo-nitzschia data from near-bottom waters in the Heceta Bank area – a harmful algal bloom hotspot in Oregon. Work will be carried out through collaborations with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and local crab fishermen. This project will provide information about Pseudo-nitzschia in near-bottom waters and how its annual blooms affect the valuable Dungeness crab fishery in Oregon.

View the full report HERE





Building capacity for fishermen first aid safety training

Laurel Kincl, Associate Professor, Program in Environmental and Occupational Health, OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Viktor Bovbjerg, Professor, Program in Epidemiology, OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences

In addition to the risks of severe injury or death in commercial fishing, our research suggests that for every severe injury there are many less severe injuries, which may nonetheless lead to lost work time or early retirement. Prevention of these injuries is the first goal, but when injuries can’t be prevented, rapid and effective first aid can have a profound impact on health outcomes. First aid courses specifically tailored to austere settings such as found in commercial fishing are more likely to provide the skills needed to provide effective first aid to fishermen. As part of an ongoing project, we have developed and pilot tested such a course with a Wilderness Emergency Education expert – Fishermen First Aid and Safety Training (FFAST). This new project will build on that by: demonstrating the feasibility of providing locally-based FFAST on the Oregon coast, documenting the effectiveness of locally-based FFAST, and establishing a sustainable, scalable process for providing FFAST. 

View the video below. 

View the full report HERE


First Aid at Sea

First Aid at Sea


The Fishermen-Led Injury Prevention Program (FLIPP) is an innovative research project that involves commercial fishermen, researchers, extension agents, and coastal community members to better understand injuries at sea. The project is lead by the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Oregon Sea Grant, a partnership that merges occupational safety research with experience working directly with the commercial fishing industry.