OLYMPIA - Most areas of Puget Sound will close to recreational crab fishing at sunset on Labor Day (Sept. 2), with summer catch reports due by midnight Oct. 1.
The only two areas of the Sound that will remain open to crab fishing after Labor Day are marine areas 7-North and 7-South near the San Juan Islands. Sport fishers who crab in those two areas after Sept. 2 must record their catch on winter catch record cards.
All sport fishers licensed to fish for Dungeness crab anywhere in Puget Sound have through Oct. 1 to submit summer catch reports to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
"Catch reports play a major role in determining how much crab is still available for harvest during the winter season," said Rich Childers, WDFW's shellfish policy lead. "It's important that we receive reports from everyone licensed to fish for crab in Puget Sound - whether or not they caught crab this year."
Childers said WDFW will announce winter crab seasons for Puget Sound in early October, after completing its assessment of the summer fishery.
Crabbers can submit catch record cards to WDFW by mail at CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. They can also report their catch online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wdfw/puget_sound_crab_catch.html from Sept. 3 through Oct. 1.
Crabbers who fail to file their catch reports on time will face a $10 fine when they purchase a 2014 Puget Sound crab endorsement.
Sport crabbers who fish for Dungeness crab in any area of Puget Sound after Sept. 2 must record their harvest on winter catch record cards, Childers said. Winter cards, which are free to those with crab endorsements, are available at sporting goods stores and other license vendors across the state.
For more information about recreational crabbing in Puget Sound, see WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.