OLYMPIA -- Non-Indian commercial fishing for Dungeness crab will close in
some areas of central Puget Sound on Monday while north Sound tribes have agreed
to restrict Indian fishing in areas of the northern Sound.
Recreational crabbing rules remain unchanged.
The agreements, reached via a telephone conference, was reached to help bring
into balance tribal and non-tribal harvests as required by the federal courts in U.S. vs
Washington. The court on Dec. 20, 1994 decided tribes were entitled to the opportunity
to take up to 50 percent of the harvestable Dungeness crab in their usual and
accustomed fishing areas.
Without the commercial fishing changes, fish managers estimated non-tribal
commercial fishers would harvest 58 percent of Dungeness crab by the April 15 season
closure in central Puget Sound (Region 2). In northern Puget Sound (Region 1) tribal
fishers would have harvested 54 percent of the crab without the agreement.
The non-Indian commercial closure in central Puget Sound will take effect at 6
p.m. Monday. At that time all crabbing gear needs to be out of the water.
The tribes agreed, as of 6 p.m. Monday, to confine their North Sound
commercial fishery to an area inside and east of a line from Cherry Point, south to the
separation buoy located southeast of Alden Bank. The defined area then continues
southeast to Vendovi Island, north to Carter Point and north to Point Francis and then
along the coast line back to Cherry Point.