OLYMPIA – The recreational crab fishery in Hood Canal will close until further notice effective one hour after sunset, Nov. 2, 2000, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The closure applies to the taking of all crab species by all methods, including crab pots, ring nets, diving and wading.
The area affected includes all of Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) and the portion of Marine Area 9 north of the Hood Canal Bridge and south of a line from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff.
Morris Barker, WDFW marine resource manager, said the emergency closure is necessary because the state recreational fishery has exceeded its annual allocation of Dungeness crab.
"We had a lot of people out crabbing this year and catch rates were well above normal," Barker said. "The numbers are still coming in but – based on what we know now – it's clearly time to stop the recreational fishery."
By court order, treaty tribes are entitled to half of the annual harvest and will proceed with their fishery until their allocation has been reached, Barker said.
By previous agreement, tribal and non-tribal fishers each have an allocation of 250,000 pounds of crab for this season.
State and tribal fishery managers will meet again in early December to determine the potential for additional harvest opportunities.