OLYMPIA – Sport crabbers will be able to start fishing a week earlier than previously scheduled in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca under a joint fishery management plan recently approved by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and area treaty tribes.
Starting June 27, crab fishing in Marine Area 6 will be open Wednesday through Saturday, a week before the date published in WDFW’s 2007-08 sport fishing pamphlet.
That area includes waters between Wilson Point near Port Townsend and Low Point, west of Port Angeles.
The earlier starting date was the result of a shellfish-management plan recently negotiated with area tribes, said Rich Childers, WDFW shellfish policy coordinator. The department negotiates similar plans with more than two-dozen treaty tribes every year, he said.
Childers said the Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet posted on WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations) will be updated to reflect the new June 27 starting date for the recreational crab fishery in Marine Area 6.
With that change, this year’s recreational crab-fishing schedule for Puget Sound is as follows:
- June 18: Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu) and 13 (south Puget Sound) will open seven days per week through Jan. 2, 2008.
- June 27: Marine area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) will open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus the entire Labor Day weekend and will close the evening of Sept. 3 for a catch assessment.
- July 4: Marine areas 7 South (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass to East Point), 8-2 (East Point to Possession Point), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal) will open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus the entire Labor Day weekend and will close the evening of Sept. 3 for a catch assessment.
- July 18: Marine Area 7 East (Bellingham and Samish bays) will open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus the entire Labor Day weekend and will close the evening of Sept. 29 for a catch assessment.
- Aug. 15: Marine Area 7 North (Lummi Island/Blaine) will open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus the entire Labor Day weekend and will close the evening of Sept. 29 for a catch assessment.
All areas will open at 7 a.m. on the dates noted.
As in previous years, the daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.
All crab fishers age 15 or older must carry a current Washington fishing license. In addition, all Puget Sound crabbers – regardless of age – must obtain a crab-licensing endorsement and record their catch on a catch record card. For more information on the Puget Sound crab fishery, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/crab/index.htm on the WDFW website.