OLYMPIA – Recreational crab fishing will open Monday (Aug. 15) north of the San Juan Islands in Marine Area 7 North, which includes Hale Passage, Boundary Bay, Birch Bay, Drayton Harbor and waters near Point Roberts.
The crab fishery in that area will be closed Tuesday (Aug. 16) and Wednesday (Aug. 17), then reopen on a Thursday-through-Monday schedule through Sept. 30.
As in other crab fisheries now under way in Puget Sound, the daily catch limit is five Dungeness crab – males only – in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches.
Crabbers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.
Everyone licensed to fish for crab in Puget Sound is required to record their catch of Dungeness crab on a Catch Record Card (CRC) and report that information to WDFW by the date printed on the card – even if they do not harvest any crab. Failure to do so will result in a $10 penalty.
Red rock crab should not be recorded on the card.
Don Velasquez, a shellfish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), reminds fishers to use their summer CRC to record any Dungeness crab harvested through Sept. 5. Any Dungeness harvested after that date should be reported on a winter CRC.
“This distinction is especially important in Marine Area 7, because the initial fishing season spans both the summer and winter reporting periods,” Velasquez said. “Further south, the initial crab-fishing season closes Sept. 5 at the end of the summer reporting period.”
Velasquez said the completed CRCs provide important information to fishery managers on the catch. Based on that information, WDFW will announce additional crab-fishing opportunities in Puget Sound once the harvest during the summer fishery has been tallied.
“We recommend that crabbers obtain a winter CRC only if they intend to harvest Dungeness crab after Sept. 5, since the winter reporting requirement applies only to those who obtain a winter catch card,” Velasquez said.
Additional information on crab-fishing rules and seasons is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.