OLYMPIA – If you're planning to participate in the Hood Canal shrimp fishery later this month, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recommends that you have your 2001 fishing license in hand before you leave home.
"The Hood Canal shrimp fishery is a very popular event that draws a lot of people together in a short period of time," said Bruce Crawford, WDFW licensing manager. "We recommend that people buy their license before they leave home to avoid the possibility of encountering long lines at license outlets in the Hood Canal area."
Crawford noted that recreational shrimpers have the option of purchasing a standard shellfish/seaweed license, a combination license (saltwater, freshwater and shellfish) or a two-day license. License dealers throughout the state are listed on WDFW's website.
As announced earlier this week, the Hood Canal shrimp fishery will be open May 19, 23, 26 and 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on a Wednesday and Saturday schedule.
Therese Cain, WDFW shellfish biologist, said the Saturday/Wednesday schedule was the option preferred by the majority of people who attended public meetings in recent years to discuss season options.
"Given the choice of a four-day season, versus fewer days with either longer hours or higher daily catch limits, the majority of people polled at the public meetings chose the four-day season," Cain said.
Because in-season management changes may occur that modify the anticipated season, Cain recommends that fishers check the shellfish hotline (360-796-3215, press 5) before going fishing.
This year's allowable catch in Hood Canal is 151,700 pounds, which by federal court order must be divided equally between tribal and non-tribal fishers. The non-tribal share is reserved for recreational fishing only.
Sport fishers are limited to one shrimp pot per person, with a daily limit of 80 shrimp. The pots must conform to gear specifications outlined in the 2001 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at WDFW offices, license dealers and on the WDFW website. The buoy requirements are also described in the 2001 pamphlet.
Other regulations for Hood Canal shrimp fishing in effect this year:
- Each vessel participating in the fishery may operate no more than four pots.
- Fishers must keep the first 80 shrimp caught. Once a person has reached his or her limit, another person may attach a buoy bearing his or her name and address to the pot and continue fishing for a separate 80-shrimp limit. It is acceptable for the other person to securely affix duct tape to a buoy and legibly mark the tape in a permanent manner with their name and address. However, only one name and address may appear on any buoy. Any additional shrimp caught must be returned immediately to the water unharmed.
- Each limit of shrimp must be kept in a separate container. Fishers may remove and discard the heads from their shrimp while on the water.
- Pots may not be set prior to 9 a.m. and must be pulled by 1 p.m. each fishing day. Each fisher must set and pull his or her own gear, although a second person may assist the pot owner in operation of the gear.
Fishers may also harvest clams and oysters on Hood Canal's public beaches, subject to regulations in the fishing pamphlet and on the WDFW shellfish hotline (360- 796-3215, press 1). Crabbing remains closed during the month of May.
Persons 15 years of age and older taking shrimp, clams or oysters must have a shellfish or combination license. Check the WDFW 2001 "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet or the fishing section of the WDFW webpage for details on fishing seasons and regulations.