WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

September 30, 2005
Contact: Susan Yeager, (360) 902-2267
or WDFW Public Affairs, (360) 902-2250

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Fish and Wildlife Commission to hear
Puget Sound sport crab catch update

OLYMPIA—An update on this year’s effort to lengthen the Puget Sound recreational crabbing season by slowing catch rates will be presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission when it meets here Oct. 7-8.

The crab fishery update is one of several briefings the commission is scheduled to receive during the meeting, which begins at 8:30 a.m., both days, in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., in Olympia.

During the Oct. 8 session, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) shellfish managers will update commissioners on whether more restrictive crab fishery rules adopted earlier this year have been successful in slowing recreational catch rates. Catch information is based on telephone surveys of crab catch record card holders. The new restrictions were aimed at slowing sport harvest rates to potentially provide additional fall and winter fishing time. The new rules closed crabbing in most marine areas at the end of the Labor Day weekend. Marine areas with remaining recreational crab allocations will be re-opened later this season.

State shellfish managers also are scheduled to update the commission on preliminary results of this year’s dock checks of recreational crab catch. The field-based creel checks at specific sites will be used to assess the reliability of catch estimates from the telephone surveys. Results of the validation assessment will be presented during the November 18-19 commission meeting.

The commission also is scheduled to hear reports on:

  • Wiley Slough and Leque Island restoration projects, aimed at restoring salmon habitat on the Skagit Wildlife Area.
  • Sport fishing rule proposals for the 2006-07 season.
  • Columbia River salmon and sturgeon allocation, which commissioners will address in a Nov. 3 joint meeting with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.
  • The coastal recreational halibut fishery.
  • A recently published vision statement for WFDW lands, “ Lands 20/20: A Clear Vision for the Future,” which will guide future WDFW land transactions and management.
  • Damage to WDFW’s Wooten Wildlife Area from this summer’s “School” Fire.
  • Marine mammal laws and actions that may be undertaken to control sea lions that interact with fisheries.

In other action, the commission is scheduled to adopt permanent rules for commercial harvest of non-cultured shellfish from non-state lands; set policies for the commercial coastal Dungeness crab fishery, including fishery buoy tag rules and a limited entry proposal; and set its 2006 meeting calendar.

The complete Oct. 7-8 meeting agenda may be viewed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm