OLYMPIA – This year’s recreational spot shrimp fishery in Hood Canal and a marine area in northern Puget Sound ended Wednesday (May 18), when the sport catch reached annual quotas for those waters, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
After four days of fishing, shrimpers pulled up a total of 72,600 pounds of prawns from Hood Canal, said Dave Sterritt, a WDFW shellfish biologist. An average of 1,200 boats participated in the fishery in Marine Area 12 each day.
“We generally had great weather and the highest catch rates in years,” Sterritt said. “With more than a thousand boats harvesting 4,500 pounds a shrimp an hour, the quota goes pretty quick.”
Biologists monitoring the fishery in Marine Area 8 off the east side of Whidbey Island reported similar results, but on a smaller scale. An average of 300 boats harvested that area’s spot shrimp quota in four days of fishing – down from six days last year.
“I’m not sure whether there are more shrimp this year or whether people are just getting better at catching them,” said Mark O’Toole, another WDFW shellfish biologist. “We’re definitely seeing more people shrimp fishing every year.”
The spot shrimp fishery in most areas of Puget Sound opened May 6, with fishing limited to Wednesdays and Saturdays. Three marine areas – 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) and 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) – closed to spot shrimp fishing May 10 after catch quotas were reached in those waters.
Areas still open to spot shrimp fishing include the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the waters around the San Juan Islands and south Puget Sound. The fishery in those waters – marine areas 4, 5, 6, 7 and 13 – is open seven days a week.
Fisheries for smaller species of shrimp, such as coonstripe and sidestripe shrimp, will open June 1 in the Port Townsend Shrimp District and the southern portion of the Discovery Bay Shrimp District.