OLYMPIA -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today delayed the opening of the crab pot season in Whatcom County waters in Catch Record Area Seven with the exception of Bellingham Bay.
A map showing the boundaries of the area can be found in the 1998 “Fishing in Washington” pamphlet.
WDFW shellfish biologists say a test fishery indicates crab in the area have just recently molted and the majority still have soft shells. The agency and area tribes, co-managers of the resource, have agreed to delay the pot fishery to prevent waste and damage. In the softshell state, crab have a poor meat yield and are easily killed by handling.
Agency biologists will conduct additional test fishing. Resource managers expect the crab to harden up in time for the pot season in Whatcom County to be opened within the next few weeks.
The delayed opening only affects the pot fishery. Sport fishers may continue to harvest crab by other means such as ring nets, star traps or by wading with dip nets.
Areas previously and other areas scheduled to open July 16 are not affected by the delay.