POINT WHITNEY – If you catch a Dungeness crab in Hood Canal this year with a bright green tag inserted into the underside of the shell, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) wants to know about it.
Since April, WDFW and the Skokomish Tribe have been tagging and releasing Dungeness crab at five index stations in Hood Canal – Lynch Cove, Tahuya, Annas Bay, Lilliwaup, and Scenic Beach.
“This tagging study is part of a research project designed to gain a better understanding of crab movement in relation to low dissolved oxygen events in southern Hood Canal,” said Therese Cain, area crab management biologist. “This is a joint effort and we’re asking for joint participation.”
Sport or tribal fishers who catch a crab bearing the distinctive green tag are asked to call the department toll free at (866) 859-8439 and report the tag number along with the date, location, and depth of capture.
“Latitude and longitude coordinates are particularly helpful. However, if those coordinates are not available, distance and direction from the nearest landmark are valuable information”, Cain said.
Fishers are free to keep tagged, legal-sized male crab during open periods, but are asked to report the tag information from those crab. However, tags should not be removed from crab – such as female, softshell or undersized crab – that cannot legally be retained and must be returned to the water.