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March 26, 1999
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256

Crab rules change in north and central Puget Sound

OLYMPIA—Portions of northern Puget Sound will close to recreational and commercial crab pot fishing as well as commercial bottom trawling at 6 p.m. tomorrow (March 27) to protect molting Dungeness crabs but portions of central Puget Sound will open for sport harvest, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

Molting crabs are vulnerable to injury and death if handled when their shells are soft, state and tribal biologists said.

Marine Areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) open at 8 a.m. tomorrow (March 27) open for sport ring net, SCUBA, star trap fishing and wading for Dungeness crabs. The fishery in those areas is being reopened because the imbalance between Indian and non-Indian sharing has been corrected.

The recreational crab fishery with pot gear will close at 6 p.m. tomorrow in portions of Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) that include Bellingham, Chuckanut, Samish, Padilla and Fidalgo bays. The technical description of the closed area is: south of a line extending from Point Francis to the north end of Inati Bay on Lummi Island, east of a line drawn from Carter Point on the south end of Lummi Island to the northern point of Sinclair Island, and east of a line drawn from the southeast point of Sinclair Island to the Shannon Point state ferry dock.

Sport fishers may continue to harvest crabs with ring nets, SCUBA gear, star traps and by wading in those portions of Area 7.

The commercial bottom trawl and crab fisheries will close in Catch Areas 22B, 21B and 21A, except for the portion north of a line from Carter Point on Lummi Island to the northern point of Sinclair Island and west of Lummi Island.