Puget Sound Commercial Smelt Fishery

NOTICE: The Puget Sound smelt fishery is now closed for the season.  It will reopen January 5th, 2015.

Commercial Smelt Seasons
Commercial  Smelt Fishery Seasons map
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A commercial fishery for smelt is allowed in Puget Sound waters using drag (beach) seine gear with area, timing, and gear restrictions

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission recently approved new regulations for recreational and commercial smelt fishing in Puget Sound in order to increase protection for the valuable species.

These new regulations included:

  • A new 60,000-pound annual quota for the Puget Sound commercial smelt fishery.
  • A reduction in the commercial fishery by one day each week and during limited daily hours, allowing commercial fishing from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday during seasonal openings in each area.

Population abundance estimates are not available for smelt. However, Puget Sound-wide commercial catch and catch rates indicate relatively high harvest in recent years that prompted the adoption of more restrictive regulation by the commission.

If needed, an emergency regulation will be enacted when the annual commercial fishery quota is expected to be reached.

Commercial Regulation Updates

2014 Landings

Fishing Time Frame Pounds
01/01/14 - 07/19/14 8,910
07/20/14 - 07/26/14 5,485
07/27/14 - 08/02/14 4,628
08/03/14 - 08/09/14 6,078
08/10/14 - 08/16/14 1,405
08/17/14 - 08/23/14 8,824
08/24/14 - 08/30/14 3,.271
08/31/14 - 09/06/14 7,172
09/07/14 - 09/13/14 1,750
09/14/14 - 09/20/14 4,120
09/21/14 - 09/27/14 3,095
09/28/14 - 10/04/14 2,550
10/05/14 - 10/11/14 3,355
 
Total 61,199
% of Quota 102.0%