OLYMPIA, Wash. — The commercial Dungeness crab fishing season is set to open Jan. 15 along the southwest Washington coast following a six-week delay.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday that coastal waters will open from the mouth of the Columbia River north to Klipsan Beach on the Long Beach peninsula. It includes Willapa Bay.

The fishing season traditionally begins Dec. 1, but was delayed to give the crabs more time to fill with meat.

Coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres says the latest test results also show that Washington coastal crabs are safe to eat.

Recreational crabbing remains open in all of Washington’s coastal waters. The area north of Klipsan Beach will open later in coordination with tribal co-managers.

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