OLYMPIA - The increasing popularity of Puget Sound recreational shrimp fishing has led the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to modify some rules to lengthen the fishery.
Participants in the fishery, which opens Saturday (April 20) have a daily limit of 80 spot shrimp per person as part of the daily 10-pound limit. A maximum of four shrimp pots can be fished and carried onboard each boat.
Mark O'Toole, WDFW shellfish biologist, said the rule changes are intended to slow harvest rates and extend the season.
"Each year, the shrimping season gets shorter as more people get involved," O'Toole said. "The number of shrimpers outside of Hood Canal has almost been doubling every year, but the amount of shrimp available for harvest each year doesn't change all that dramatically from year-to-year."
Fishing rules that carry over from previous years include the requirement to use yellow buoys to mark the location of shrimp pots, the size limit on spot shrimp, and the daily limit of 10 pounds (including heads and tails) of all shrimp species combined.
O'Toole said there are a number of great shrimping locations in northern Puget Sound, including Saratoga Pass, the waters off Everett, Edmonds, Possession Point, Elliott Bay and Blakely Rocks off Bainbridge Island. In the San Juan Islands, Iceberg Point and the waters between Stuart and Waldron islands are often productive shrimping areas.
Shrimp rules will be published as part of WDFW's 2002-03 "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet, which should be available May 1. Current regulation information is also available at /fishing/regulations and on the toll-free Shellfish Rule Change hotline, (866) 880-5431.