Electronic Monitoring Information

On Oct. 27, 2023, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the adoption of new rules that require coastal Dungeness crab fishery participants to have an operational electronic monitoring (EM) system, effective January 1, 2024. A complete description of the rules can be found at: WAC 220-340-420

General Information

Electronic monitoring (EM) is a valuable tool that is necessary to modernize management of the coastal commercial Dungeness crab fishery. Fleetwide implementation of EM will improve the accuracy and timeliness of fishing location data that is needed to effectively:

  • Meet co-management responsibilities
  • Improve enforcement of closed area boundaries, pot limits, and gear tampering
  • Track co-occurrence of fishing gear and marine mammal activity necessary for marine life conservation
  • Support more flexible management when biotoxins are high


See the coastal commercial Dungeness crab website.


WA State Coastal Dungeness Crab EM System Procedures
Photo by WDFW

Compliance Guide

This compliance guide was prepared by WDFW to provide a summary of how vessel operators can comply with regulations implementing electronic monitoring in the Washington coastal Dungeness crab fishery (WAC 220-340-420). The statements in this document are intended solely as guidance. Any discrepancies between this guide and WAC 220-340-420 will be resolved in favor of WAC 220-340-420.

Compliance Guide

Activation Reports

Vessel operators will need to submit an activation report prior to the start of every coastal Dungeness crab season and when:

  • Initially installing or reinstalling an EM system.
  • Switching EM service providers.
  • Resuming fishing operations after submitting a long-term departure exemption report.
  • Making any changes to the information contained in the EM Activation Report. This includes when designating a new vessel to a coastal Dungeness crab license.

Vessel operators may submit an EM Activation Report to the EM Program Team by mail, email, or through the online form.

Online Form

Printable Form

Exemption Permits

Vessels may be temporarily exempted from the requirement to have an operational EM system if a valid EM Exemption Permit is received from WDFW and the vessel is in compliance with all conditions and requirements of the EM system exemption identified in WAC 220-340-420 (b)(v).

An EM Exemption Permit is needed when:

  • A vessel has an EM system failure that cannot be resolved immediately.
  • A vessel operator is informed of a system failure by WDFW staff or the EM service provider.
  • The vessel will be hauled out of the water but is expected to resume commercial crab fishing in the same season.
  • An emergency incapacitates the vessel, but the vessel is expected to resume commercial crab fishing after resolving the situation.


Fill out the EM System Failure Exemption Permits online form, available 24/7.

You will receive a confirmation email after submitting the form. This confirmation email is your permit and will need to be presented to WDFW Enforcement if requested.

Exemption permits can also be requested by sending a text or email to the EM Program Team that contains:

  • Operator’s name
  • Vessel name
  • Coastal crab license number
  • Nature of the system failure

The EM Program Team will respond to requests and issue permits during normal business hours. The request text or email shall be saved as confirmation of a valid permit until the operator receives a permit from WDFW staff.  Permits are valid for four days from the time the request text or email is sent.


If the situation cannot be resolved within four days, contact the EM Program Team to get an extension before your permit expires. Do not submit a new exemption permit request. Extensions can be requested by sending a text or email to the EM Program Team that contains:

  • Operator’s name
  • Vessel name
  • Coastal crab license number
  • Details on why the extension is needed

The extension request text or email shall be saved as confirmation of a valid extension until WDFW staff confirms the extension and issues a new permit. The EM Program Team will respond to requests and issue permits during normal business hours.


Per WAC 220-340-360, vessel operators must fill out an electronic or paper logbook while operating under an EM Exemption Permit and must submit logs within 10 days of any landing while commercial crab fishing without an operational EM system. 

Printable Logbook Page

Vessel operators must use navigational equipment (including, but not limited to, chart plotters, handheld GPS units, cellphones, an active AIS or VMS system, etc.) to record a track line of the vessel’s movements while commercial crab fishing, and this information must be made immediately available to WDFW enforcement officers upon request and retained for 30 days from the date the EM Exemption Permit expired. 

More information on a cellular app that would satisfy this requirement will be available soon.

Long-term Departure Reports

Long-term departure reports are submitted when a vessel operator no longer intends to commercially fish for Dungeness crab in the current season and deactivates the EM system.

Departure reports may be submitted by text or email to the EM Program Team and must include:

  • Vessel name
  • Coastal Dungeness crab license number
  • Date of departure from the fishery (date of the vessel’s last landing or the date the last of the vessel’s gear was removed from the water, whichever is later)

Additional EM Information

EM System Distribution

WDFW worked with PSMFC to secure funding to provide coastal crab vessels with an EM system prior to the rule implementation date of January 1st, 2024. To apply please fill out this form:

EM System Application Form

LIME Installation Help

EM Implementation Coastwide

For more information on the implementation of EM in other West Coast Dungeness crab fisheries please visit the following links:

CDFW EM Information: Compliance Guide for CA Commercial Dungeness crab EM Program

ODFW EM Information: Public_CP_DRAFT_8.18.21.pdf (state.or.us)

EM Presentations and Meeting Recordings

Contact Information

Please submit EM related questions, forms, and requests to:



Robert Morgan
EM Program Manager
Mobile: 360-480-8596

Carly Adams
EM Technician​​​​
Mobile: 360-890-5898

Meghan Chaney
EM Technician​​​​​​
Mobile: 564-233-9109