OLYMPIA – The Hood Canal recreational shrimp season will open for four days in May, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Shrimping will be open May 20, 24, 27, and 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on a Wednesday and Saturday schedule.
That was the option preferred by the majority of people attending recent public meetings to discuss season alternatives, said WDFW shellfish biologist Therese Cain.
"Given the choice of a four-day season, or fewer days with either longer hours or higher daily catch limits, the majority of people at the meetings chose the four-day season," Cain said.
WDFW may announce additional openings for June 3 or June 7 if enough shrimp remain to be harvested, Cain said. Under those circumstances, the announcement will be made June 1.
Cain said this year's allowable catch in Hood Canal is 155,800 pounds, which must be divided equally between Indian and non-Indian fishers, by federal court order. The non-Indian share is reserved for sport fishers.
Sport fishers are limited to one shrimp pot per person, with a daily limit of 80 shrimp. The pots must conform to gear specifications contained in the 2000 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available by May 1 at WDFW offices and license dealers. The pamphlet also describes legal buoys.
Under other regulations for Hood Canal shrimp fishing in effect this year:
Fishers also may harvest clams and oysters on Hood Canal's public beaches subject to regulations in the fishing pamphlet and on the WDFW shellfish hotline at (360) 796-3215.
- Fishers must keep the first 80 shrimp caught. Any shrimp caught over the limit 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.
- Each vessel participating in the fishery may operate no more than four pots. Pots may not be set prior to 9 a.m. and must be pulled from the water by 1 p.m. each fishing day. Each fisher must set and pull their own gear; however, a second person may assist the pot owner in operation of the gear.
- 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.
- Crab fishers may use two ring nets or two star traps, or one of each during the Hood Canal shrimp season. Crab fishing will be allowed from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. However, Hood Canal is currently closed to taking any species of crab with crab pots and is expected to remain closed to pot gear through the shrimp fishery.
Persons over age 15 taking shrimp, crab, clams or oysters must have a shellfish license. The license must be displayed visibly on the clothing during harvest and transport of catch. Residents aged 16 to 69 must purchase a $7 license. Residents over age 70 need a $5 license.