OLYMPIA - Most marine areas of Puget Sound will reopen for recreational crab fishing Oct. 1, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The openings were approved by fishery managers after summer catch assessments by WDFW indicated more crab are available for harvest, said Rich Childers, shellfish manager for the department.
Waters reopening to sport crabbing Oct. 1 at 8 a.m. include marine areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 12 (Hood Canal), and 13 (South Puget Sound).
In each area, crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Dec. 31.
Sport crabbing will not reopen this year in marine areas 10 (Seattle/Bremerton Area) and 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island). The annual quotas in those areas were reached during the summer fishery, said Childers.
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. Additional information is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.
All Dungeness crab caught in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid until Dec. 31. Winter cards - free to those with crab endorsements - are available at license vendors across the state.
Winter catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 1, 2014. For more information on catch record cards, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/crc.html.