(Update: Recreational shrimp fishing in Marine Areas 9 and 10 closed Wednesday, May 10, 2006. Click here for more information.)
OLYMPIA – People preparing for this year’s recreational shrimp fishery in Puget Sound can focus on the week beginning Saturday, May 6.
All areas of the sound except two will open for the popular fishery the first Saturday in May under season openings announced today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
One exception – Marine Area 11, extending from the northern tip of Vashon Island to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge – will open for shrimping Wednesday, May 10, then close for the season.
The one-day season in that area is designed to keep the recreational catch within the area’s harvest quota, said Mark O’Toole, a WDFW shellfish biologist.
“The recreational shrimp harvest in Marine Area 11 has increased dramatically in recent years,” O’Toole said. “With so many more shrimp pots in the water, it now appears that the area can support only one weekday of recreational fishing.”
Last year, sport fishers in that area caught an estimated 1,975 pounds of shrimp on opening day, exceeding the entire state share for both sport and commercial by more than 400 pounds, he said. Fishery managers counted 454 shrimp pots in the water that day, compared to 86 in 2004 and just 18 pots in 2003.
Shrimp districts in Port Townsend, Discovery Bay and Port Angeles will all be closed for spot shrimp fishing this spring due to extremely low catches in pre-season testing. However, non-spot shrimping opportunities in the Port Townsend Shrimp District will begin 7 a.m. on June 1, south of a line running from Kala Point to Walan Point. Fishing for non-spot shrimp will also open June 1 in the southern portion of the Discovery Bay Shrimp District, south of a direct line from Contractors Pt. to Tukey Pt.
With the exception of Marine Area 11, this year’s season mirrors last year when, for the first time, all areas opened on the same day.
While most areas of Puget Sound will open for shrimping on May 6, different fishing schedules will be in effect for those areas:
- Marine Areas 8, 9, and 10, will open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays only until quotas for those areas are reached or until May 31, whichever comes first.
- Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) will open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays through May 17 or until the quota is reached, whichever comes first. Additional dates and times may be announced if sufficient quota is remaining.
- Marine Areas 4 (east of the Bonilla Line), 5, 6, 7 and 13 (excluding Shrimp Districts) will be open daily beginning May 6 at 7 a.m. until quota is attained or through October 15, whichever comes first.
There’s good news for those who go out for the opener this year, according to O’Toole. “Unlike last year, this year’s favorable tidal exchange will make for much better fishing conditions.”
(5/4/06 - Correction made to section on Discovery Bay and Port Angeles shrimp districts.)