OLYMPIA—The Hood Canal recreational shrimp season will open for four days in May, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announce.
Shrimping will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 15, 19, 22, and 26.
The majority of people attending recent public meetings to discuss four season options preferred the Saturday and Wednesday fishing schedule. Two other options presented were increased daily limits and increased fishing hours.
WDFW on May 27 may announce additional openings for May 29 or June 2 if enough shrimp remain to be harvested.
This year's allowable catch is 148,500 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 will be limited to one shrimp pot per person. The pots must conform to gear specifications contained in the 1999 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available about May 1 at WDFW offices and license dealers. The pamphlet also describes legal buoys.
Other regulations for Hood Canal shrimp in effect this year include:
- 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 boat is limited to four pots. However, 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. The boat carrying the pots must be used to set and pull the 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.
- 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, crab pots may not be used between April 16 and July 15.
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.
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.