Season information

2022/2023 Puget Sound Commercial Crab Season Letter


Updated: December 28, 2022 

Dear Puget Sound Commercial Crab Fishers and Dealers:

This letter is to inform you of regulation changes for the 2022-23 commercial Dungeness crab season, which begins October 15, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. It is your responsibility as a Puget Sound Dungeness Crab license owner or wholesale dealer to communicate this important information to the alternate operators and buyers who work for you.

The current permanent fishing rules and provisions and the emergency (temporary) rules are included in this season’s commercial packet. The emergency rules replace specific sections of the permanent rules. Both permanent and emergency rules must be read together for a complete understanding of the 2022-23 season regulations. For example, if the permanent rules indicate an area opens on October 1 and the emergency rules list October 15 as the opening date, the area will open on October 15.

Please review the regulatory provisions and the following information carefully before fishing and feel free to contact an agency employee at the contacts listed below if you have questions.

The following harvester regulations will be implemented this season:


Initial crabbing period and regional crab pot limits

The Puget Sound Commercial Crab Fishery will open Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 8:00 a.m.

Effective 8:00 a.m. October 15, 2022, until further notice it is unlawful for any person to fish for crabs for commercial purposes with more than the number of pots listed below:

  • 30 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 1,
  • 30 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 2E,
  • 30 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 2W,
  • 30 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 3, subarea 3-1,
  • 30 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 3, subarea 3-2,
  • 30 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 3, subarea 3-3, and
  • 30 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 3, subarea 3-4.


Portions of Regions 2W and 3-2 will be opening to commercial harvest this season with the following pot limit restrictions in effect:

Region 2 West

Commercial harvest is limited to 20 pots per license in Port Townsend Bay which consists of those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 25D within a line projected from the Point Hudson Marina entrance to the northern tip of Indian Island, thence to Kala Point, and thence following the shoreline to the point of origin. Pot limit restrictions will be lifted after December 31, 2022 and will default to the current pot limits for the surrounding area. (WAC 220-320-120(5))

Region 3, subarea 3-2

Commercial harvest is limited to 20 pots per license within the Sequim Bay Special Management Area which consists of all waters of Sequim Bay south of a line true west from Travis Spit to the Miller Peninsula (WAC 220-320-120(6)).


Commercial harvest is limited to 20 pots per license within the Discovery Bay Special Management Area which consists of all waters of Discovery Bay south of a line from Diamond Point to Cape George (WAC 220-320-120(1)(a)).

The remaining buoy tags per license per region must be onboard the designated vessel and available for immediate inspection in Crab Management Regions 1, 2 East, 2 West, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, and 3-4.

  • Region 1 includes Marine Fish-Shellfish Catch Reporting Areas 20A, 20B, 21A, 21B, 22A and 22B.
  • Region 2 West includes 25B, 25D and 26A-West.
  • Region 2 East includes 24A, 24B, 24C, 24D, and 26A-East.
  • Region 3, subarea 3-1 includes 23A and 23B.
  • Region 3, subarea 3-2 includes 23D, 25A and 25E.
  • Region 3, subarea 3-3 includes 23C East.
  • Region 3, subarea 3-4 consists of 23C West and 29.

Please see the map and charts web page for more information: Maps and Charts


Crab Pot Barging

Setting crab pot gear from a vessel not designated on a crab license (“barging”) will be allowed in Regions 1, 2 East, 2 West, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, and 3-4 (WAC 220-340-420(9b)).

Barging in Regions 1, 2 East, 2 West, 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, and 3-4 will be allowed from 8:00 a.m. on October 15, 2022 until 7:59 a.m. on October 17, 2022 provided that the operator or alternate operator designated on the license is on board the non-designated vessel and prior notice is given to WDFW.

The license owner must report crab pot barging through the license registration survey available at WDFW Puget Sound Crab Fishing Area Declaration and include:

  • License Owner(s)
  • License Number(s)
  • Primary Operator
  • Alt Operator
  • Buoy Brand
  • Name of Barging Vessel
  • Barging Vessel Coast Guard ID # or WN #
  • Region or Set Location


Non-commercial Areas Remaining Closed

State commercial crab fishing will remain closed in the following areas until further notice (WAC 220-340-455) and enclosed maps, for a complete description of area boundaries):


Dungeness Bay Non-commercial Area:

Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 25A previously described as “west of a line from the new Dungeness Light to the abandoned dock at the Three Crabs Restaurant” now described as the Dungeness Bay Special Management Area which include all waters of Dungeness Bay west of the W123° 6.60’ longitude line originating from the New Dungeness Light (48° 10.90’N, 123° 6.50’W) (WAC 220-320-120(2)).


Port Angeles Harbor Non-commercial Area:

That portion of Marine Fish/Shellfish Catch Area 23D west of a line from the eastern tip of Ediz Hook to the ITT Rayonier Dock (Port Angeles Harbor) will be closed to commercial crab harvest this season based on recommendations from the Clallam County Department of Health and Human Services (WAC 220-320-120(4)).


Areas Closed to State Commercial Harvest for the 2022-2023 Season


Tribal exclusive areas in Lummi Bay, Bellingham Bay, Port Susan, the Swinomish Special Management Area, and Dungeness Bay that are detailed in (WAC 220-340-455(2)(a-f)) remain closed to State Commercial crab harvest by permanent rule. See WSR 22-21-040 or the Maps and Charts website, for a complete description of area boundaries.


Maps showing approximate non-commercial and limited-commercial zone boundaries and descriptions of these areas are enclosed for your convenience. Note that the State commercial fishery is closed in areas designated on the maps as “Special Management Areas”. Non-commercial and limited-commercial zone boundaries and descriptions can also be found on the WDFW website at the above link. 


Buoy Tags

Buoy tags are being issued as single-year tags. The permanent regulations addressing the use of buoy tags are included with this letter (WAC 220-340-430, WAC 220-340-440). For the remainder of the 2022-2023 season, no replacement new tags will be issued. License holders may request permission from the department to use their dash tags to replace lost or unrecoverable tags. Please see the Buoy Tag Replacement Process Memo for more information.  To request permission to use dash tags to replace lost or recoverable tags please follow the following process:

  • License holders are required to request permission to use undeployed buoy tags in the event deployed buoy tags are lost and are unrecoverable.
  • Requests to use undeployed buoy tags must state the following:
    • number of buoy tags lost,
    • the location and date where the licensee last observed lost gear or tags, and
    • the presumed cause of the loss.
  • Requests must be made using the Buoy Tag Replacement Request form.
  • Replacement tags cannot be picked up at headquarters, regional offices, or with enforcement.

Harvester Management Area Declaration Requirements

Puget Sound commercial crab license holders, or their designated alternate operators, are required to register which Crab Management Area that gear will be deployed in for each license they hold (WAC 220-352-340(1)). Declarations are required during the following conditions:

  • prior to the season start,
  • before gear is moved between management regions, and/or
  • if a license or vessel ceases to fish longer than 72 hours / stacks out.

This declaration process allows managers to determine expected effort in an area prior to a fishery opening and allows effort to be tracked over the season for improved quota management.

Registrations can be made by registering on the WDFW Puget Sound commercial crabbing webpage or on your mobile device with the link/QR code below. Include the following information per license fished:

  • Vessel Operator Name
  • Vessel Name and Vessel Registration Number
  • Permit Number(s) to be Fished
  • Crab Management Area to be fished
  • Gear Deployment Date


WDFW Puget Sound Crab Fishing Area Declaration



Harvester Stored Crab Requirements 

WDFW crab managers will be tracking the amount of crab that is harvested and stored off a vessel for sale at a future date. Harvesters are required to follow stored harvest reporting and catch labelling requirements (WAC 220-340-420, WAC 220-352-340). An electronic form is available on the Puget Sound commercial crabbing website to complete the required stored crab reports. A scannable code to the electronic reporting form has also been provided below.


All crab removed from a vessel must be stored in containers and immediately labelled with the following information:

  • date of harvest,
  • an estimate of pounds of crab contained,
  • either the Marine Fish-Shellfish (MFSF) Catch Reporting Area or the Crab Management Region the catch originated from.

If a fisher does not intend to make a sale of stored crab by 5:00 PM the day following harvest, the container must also be labelled with the associated commercial fish and shellfish transportation ticket number and reported with the electronic Stored Crab Report Form (accessible with QR code and link).


Stored Crab Reporting

Stored Crab Harvest Report

Commercial harvesters of Puget Sound crab must deliver all crab removed from their vessel to a licensed original receiver by 5:00 PM following the day of harvest or submit a report of crab retained for delivery at a future date to the Department. Reports must be received by 10:00 AM the day following removing the crab from the vessel for storage. Reports can be submitted online using the link below and will contain the following information:

  • harvester name,
  • WDFW issued vessel ID,
  • Puget Sound commercial license number(s),
  • date of harvest,
  • an estimate of pounds of harvest retained by Crab Management Region or Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area, and
  • a commercial fish and shellfish transportation ticket number.


Stored Crab Sale Report

Commercial harvesters are also required to report of the delivery of crab to an original receiver that were previously stored. These reports are due by 10:00 AM the day following the delivery. The sale of stored crab can be reported using the online form and will contain the following information.

  • vessel name,
  • harvester name,
  • Puget Sound commercial license number,
  • date of delivery,
  • dealer name
  • commercial shellfish transportation ticket number(s) delivered, and
  • fish receiving ticket number(s) corresponding to landing.


An example scenario: A fisher harvests 400 pounds of crab from Region 1 on a single day and decides to retain the catch for 3 to 4 days prior to making a sale. The harvester removes the crab from the vessel and labels each storage container with the date of harvest, number of pounds in the container and the harvest region. Additionally, a transportation ticket is filled out and each container labelled with the transportation ticket number associated with that day’s catch. By 10:00 AM the following day, the fisher reports the stored crab associated with that transportation ticket to the Department via the online Puget Sound commercial crab reporting form. When the stored crab are finally delivered, the fisher reports the sale of those crab by submitting another online report, providing the transportation ticket number and Fish Receiving Ticket number along with the harvester and dealer information.

A single delivery to an original receiver may include catch held from multiple days of storage and require reporting multiple transportation tickets. All transportation tickets associated with a delivery need to be reported.

The electronic reporting form for retention and sale of stored crab can be accessed by scanning the QR code below with your mobile device or by clicking on the link on your mobile device or computer.

Stored Crab Electronic Reporting Form



If you plan to store crab during the 2022-2023 season and need a book of transportation tickets, contact Karen Nordstrom at (360) 535-4621 or Brad Speidel at (253) 263-5560. Please sure to provide your name and complete mailing address.



Buoy Color and Pattern Registration

In anticipation of a future reporting requirement for participants of the Puget Sound commercial crab fishery to register buoy colors and patterns, we have put together a draft form that will help harvesters report their buoy descriptions to Department crab managers. For the current season, this will be voluntary for Puget Sound harvesters. It is anticipated that this will become a mandatory reporting requirement for the 2023/2024 season.


Please look at the form and provide any feedback to Department staff. The form is designed to be used on your mobile device so that images of buoys can captured. To access the form, scan the QR code below with your mobile device or click on the link on your mobile device.


Buoy Color-Pattern Registration




The following regulations for crab dealers will be implemented this season:


Electronic Fish Tickets – WA-Tix

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (Commission) approved the rules requiring the Department to implement mandatory electronic catch reporting in coastal and Puget Sound commercial crab and shrimp fisheries (WAC 220-352-035). This requirement was adopted by the Commission in 2021 but was delayed to further develop the WA-Tix application, resolve unforeseen legal issues, and complete the Commission rulemaking. The first fishery to implement these requirements will be the non-treaty Puget Sound commercial Dungeness crab fishery which opens on October 15, 2022. All dealers purchasing non-treaty Puget Sound commercial crab must complete and submit fish tickets using either the WDFW-supported WaTix Electronic Fish Ticket Reporting System or E-Tix electronic system supported by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSFMC). We are recommending that Puget Sound Crab buyers complete and submit electronic fish tickets using the WaTix application which is designed for use on mobile devices. The application is available for iOS and Android operating systems. A desktop, web-based application is also available to WaTix users.

Please visit the WaTix Electronic Fish Ticket Reporting System website for information on how to download the application, how to activate your account with the Department, view upcoming training dates and review ‘how-to’ user guides. The Department has created a WaTix user hotline and support email to direct questions about the mobile applications or the desktop software. The hotline and email can also be used to activate your WaTix user account.


For WaTix questions or technical issues contact user support at or call (360) 480-1675.


All landings of non-treaty Puget Sound Crab must be submitted to and received by the Department using an approved electronic fish ticket application within 24 hours of delivery. If you are unable to complete and submit an electronic fish ticket within 24 hours, contact WDFW crab fishery management staff to help you troubleshoot the issue and/or advise you on how to submit the landing information to the Department.

Puget Sound Crab Fishery Management Contacts:

Katelyn Bosley - (360) 302-6053

Brad Speidel - (253) 263-5560

Daniel Sund - (360) 302-6372

Landings submitted to and received by the Department using an electronic fish ticket application do not need to be quick reported (WAC 220-352-340 (2)(c)).




According to WAC 220-352-340, it is unlawful for any original receiver of crab to fail to record ALL crab aboard the vessel making the delivery to the original receiver. The poundage of any crab deemed to be unmarketable, discards, weigh backs and/or reserved as for take home by the harvester must be shown on the fish receiving ticket, but a zero-dollar value may be entered for such crab.


Commercial Dockside Sampling

Starting during the 2022/2023 season the Department will be conducting biological sampling of non-treaty commercial catch of Dungeness crab at the top of the dock and at individual dealer’s holding facilities.

In the interest of conducting more efficient business practices, this information is also posted in the WDFW website’s commercial section. The Puget Sound Commercial crabbing website will be regularly updated with season information, harvest numbers, detailed maps of special harvest zones, and current emergency regulations. If you need a printed copy of this information packet, please call (360) 302-3030 x321 with your request and be sure to leave your name and mailing address.

Have a safe and productive season.


Daniel Sund
Puget Sound Commercial Crustacean Biologist, (360) 302-3672
Port Townsend

Katelyn Bosley
Puget Sound Crustacean Lead, (360) 302-3030 x319
Port Townsend

Brad Speidel
Puget Sound Shellfish Biologist, (253) 263-5560
Port Townsend


See also: