OLYMPIA - High numbers of recreational shrimpers catching large numbers of shrimp resulted in brief fishing seasons for shrimp in three areas of central and southern Puget Sound this year.
The sport shrimp season in marine areas 9 and 10 - the portion of Puget Sound from Port Townsend to the northern end of Vashon Island - closed Wednesday (May 11) after two days of fishing.
Marine Area 11, which includes waters from Vashon Island to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, was closed after just one day of shrimp fishing.
In the Edmonds area of Puget Sound, fishery monitors with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) counted an average of 394 recreational fishing buoys per day - more than double the effort from last year's fishery.
A major increase in shrimp pots was also noted in waters between Tacoma and Vashon and, to a lesser extent, in the Everett area, said WDFW shellfish biologist Mark O'Toole. There and elsewhere, fishers pulled in pots loaded with more shrimp than in previous years, O'Toole said.
"Fishing pressure in the Seattle area was similar to last year's fishery, but the number of shrimp caught per boat this year has been tremendously higher than last year," O'Toole said. So far this season, about 17 ½ pounds of shrimp have been harvested per boat in the Seattle area; the per-boat average last year was less than 13 pounds.
WDFW closed the sport shrimp fishery in marine areas 9, 10 and 11 when it became clear that recreational quotas had been met or exceeded for those areas, O'Toole said. He noted that there are still several other areas of Puget Sound that remain open to recreational shrimp fishing:
- Shrimp districts in Port Angeles and Discovery Bay, as well as Marine Area 8 are open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays until quotas for those areas are reached.
- Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays until the quota is reached.
- Marine areas 4 (east of the Bonilla Line), 5, 6, 7 and 13 are open daily with standard fishing hours (pots can be checked only from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset).