Season information

October 6, 2021

2021/2022 Puget Sound Commercial Crab Season

Dear Puget Sound Commercial Crab Fishers and Dealers:

This letter is to inform you of regulation changes for the 2021-22 commercial Dungeness crab season, which begins October 7, 2021, 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 2021-22 season regulations. For example, if the permanent rules indicate an area opens on October 1 and the emergency rules list October 7 as the opening date, the area will open on October 7.

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.

Division of Region 3, Subarea 3-3 into Subareas 3-3 and 3-4

For the 2021-2022 season, Crab Management Region 3, subarea 3-3 has been divided into two new Crab Management Region subareas, 3-3 and 3-4. This subdivision of Crab Management Region 3, subarea 3-3 has been made to accommodate tribal harvest by the Makah. The split between subareas 3-3 and 3-4 has been achieved by creating two subareas (23C East and 23C West) of Marine Fish/Shellfish Catch Reporting Area 23C that must be designated on Fish Receiving Tickets in the field for recording MSFS catch area. A full description of the new Crab Management Region 3 subareas and their constituent MSFS Catch Reporting Areas and subareas are below.

Crab Management Region 3, Subarea 3-3 is comprised of the following MSFS Catch Reporting Areas and subareas:

Subarea 23C-East: Those waters of Puget Sound westerly of a line due north from the Ediz Hook light to the international boundary; and easterly of a line projected due north to Low Point.

Crab Management Region 3, Subarea 3-4 is comprised of the following MSFS Catch Reporting Areas and subareas:

Subarea Area 23C-West: Those waters of Puget Sound westerly of a line due north from Low Point to the international boundary; and easterly of a line projected due north from the mouth of the Sekiu River.

MFSF Catch Reporting Area 29: Those waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca west of a line projected due north from the mouth of the Sekiu River, and east of a line projected from the Bonilla Point light on Vancouver Island to the Tatoosh Island light, then to the most westerly point of Cape Flattery.

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 Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 8:00 a.m.

Effective 8:00 a.m. October 7, 2021, 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:  

  • 35 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 1,
  • 35 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 2E,
  • 50 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 2W,
  • 50 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 3, subarea 3-2,
  • 40 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 3, subarea 3-1,
  • 60 pots per license per buoy tag number in Region 3, subarea 3-3, and
  • Region 3, subarea 3-4 will remained closed to commercial harvest at this time due to not enough quota being available to open.

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

Region 2 West

Commercial harvest is limited to 20 pots per license in Port Townsend Bay which consist 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, 2021, and will default to the current pot limits for the surrounding area.

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.

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.

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, and 3-3.

  • 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 enclosed map of region and catch area boundaries. Any in-season changes to regional pot limits and information about reopening regions for commercial crabbing will be announced on the website at:  http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/crab/pugetsound/

 

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, and 3-3.

Barging in Regions 1, 2 East, 2 West, 3-1, 3-2, and 3-3 will be allowed from 8:00 a.m. on October 7, 2021, until 7:59 a.m. on October 9, 2021, 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 send an email to crab.report@dfw.wa.gov with the following information:

  • License Owner(s)
  • License Number(s)
  • Primary Operator
  • Alt Operator
  • Buoy Brand
  • Number of Pots
  • 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 (See WAC 220-340-45500Z 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 includes all waters of Dungeness Bay west of the 123° 6.50’ Longitude line originating from the New Dungeness Light (48° 10.90’N, 123° 6.50’W).

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.

 

Limited and Non-Commercial Areas Opening for the 2021-2022 Season

Effective 8:00 a.m. October 7, 2021, all of the following areas will open to State Commercial crab harvest. See WSR 21-20-131, enclosed maps, or the Puget Sound Commercial Crab website, for a complete description of area boundaries.

 

Region 1

Limited Commercial Areas

Birch Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 20A between a line from the boat ramp at the western boundary of Birch Bay State Park to the western point of the entrance of the Birch Bay Marina and a line from the same boat ramp to Birch Point.

Fidalgo Island: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22B in Fidalgo Bay south of a line projected from the red number 4 entrance buoy at Cap Sante Marina to the northern end of the eastern most oil dock.

Deer Harbor: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22A in Deer Harbor north of a line projected from Steep Point to Pole Pass.

 

Commercial Exclusion Areas

Samish Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 21B in Samish Bay south of a line from Point Williams to Fish Point in waters shallower than 60 feet in depth.

Westcott and Garrison Bays: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22A in Westcott and Garrison Bays east of a line projected due south from Point White to San Juan Island.

Birch Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 20A in Birch Bay east of a line projected from the boat ramp at the western boundary of Birch Bay State Park to the western point of the entrance to the Birch Bay Marina.

Chuckanut Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 21A inside of Chuckanut Bay east of a line projected north from Governor’s Point to the east side of Chuckanut Island, thence to Chuckanut Rock, thence to the most southerly tip of Clark’s Point.

Blind Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22A in Blind Bay south of a line projected due west from Point Hudson to its intersection with Shaw Island.

Fisherman Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22A in Fisherman Bay south of a line projected east-west through the red number 4 entrance buoy.

Mud Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22A in Mud Bay south of a line projected through Crab and Fortress Islands intersecting Lopez Island at either end.

Padilla Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22B in Padilla Bay within a line projected easterly from the northern end of the easternmost oil dock at March Point to the red number 2 buoy, thence southeasterly to the red number 8 buoy, thence west to shore and following the shoreline to the point of origin.

Prevost Harbor: That portion of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 20B, which includes all waters of Prevost Harbor between Stuart Island and Satellite Island southwest of a line from Charles Point on Stuart Island to the northwest tip of Satellite Island and southwest of a line projected 120 degrees true from the southeast end of Satellite Island to Stuart Island.

Judd Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 22A in East Sound north of a line from the southern point of Judd Bay on the west to Giffin Rocks on the east.

 

Region 2 East

Limited Commercial Areas

Sandy Point: That portion of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 24C shoreward of the 400-foot depth contour within an area described by two lines projected northeasterly from Sandy Point and the entrance to the marina at Langley.

Glendale Dock: That portion of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 26A-E east of a line that extends true north from the green #1 buoy at Possession Point to Possession Point, and west of a line from the green #1 buoy at Possession Point extending northward along the 200-foot depth contour to the Glendale dock

 

Commercial Exclusion Areas

Rocky Point: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 24A within a line projected from Rocky Point northeast to the red number 2 buoy north of Ustalady Point, thence to Brown Point on the northeast corner of Ustalady Bay.

Honeymoon Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 24D south of a line from the point at the southern end of Honeymoon Bay (48°03.047'N, 122°32.306'W) to the point just north of Beverly Beach.

Port Gardner: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 26A east of a line projected from the outermost tip of the ferry dock at Mukilteo to the green #3 buoy at the mouth of the Snohomish River, and west of a line projected from the #3 buoy southward to the oil boom pier on the shoreline, also known as Port Gardner.

Cornet Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 24A in Cornet Bay south of a line projected true east and west from the northernmost tip of Ben Ure Island.

 

Region 2 West

Limited Commercial Area

Useless Bay: Those waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 26A-W in Useless Bay north and east of a line from the south end of the Double Bluff State Park seawall (47°58.782'N, 122°30.840'W) projected 110 degrees true to the boulder on shore (47°57.690'N, 122°26.742'W).

 

Region3, Subarea 3-2

Limited Commercial Area

Discovery Bay, South of Tukey point: Those waters of Discovery Bay, Area 25E south of a line from Contractors Point to Tukey Point.

 

The permanent regulation regarding all other non-commercial and limited-commercial areas not listed above is found in WAC 220-340-455. Tribal exclusive areas in Lummi Bay, Bellingham Bay, Port Susan, and the Swinomish Special Management Area remain closed by permanent rule.

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 https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/crab/pugetsound/maps-charts/.

 

Buoy Tags

Buoy tags are being issued as a one-year tag. The permanent regulations addressing the use of buoy tags are included with this letter (WAC 220-340-430, WAC 220-340-440) and the following process will again be used for obtaining replacement tags:

  • Additional tags to replace lost tags will only be issued to the owners or operators of Puget Sound commercial crab fishery licenses. There is a $1.25 charge for each replacement tag.  The charge per fisher, for replacement tags needed during the 2021-22 season, will be billed to those fishers when they purchase tags for the 2021-22 season. 
  • Due to COVID-19 and the closure of WDFW offices to the public, replacement tags can only be obtained via mail order only for the entirety of the 2021-22 season. To request replacement tags please submit your request by calling the WDFW Licensing Division at (360) 902-2464 or email Commercial.Sales@dfw.wa.gov.
  • Replacement tags cannot be picked up at headquarters, regional offices, or with enforcement this season.
 

Harvester Area Declaration Requirements 

Puget Sound commercial crab license holders, or their designated alternate operators, will now be required to register which Crab Management Area that gear will be deployed in for each license they hold prior to the opening date. Registrations must also be updated when gear moves from one area to another. 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 sending an email to crab.report@dfw.wa.gov, detailing the following information:

    1. Vessel Operator Name
    2. Vessel Name and Vessel Registration Number
    3. Permit Number(s) to be Fished
    4. Crab Management Area to be fished
    5. Gear Deployment Date

Harvester Stored Crab Reporting Requirements

This season, WDFW crab managers will be tracking the amount of crab that has been harvested and is stored off a vessel for sale at a future date. Crabbers will now be required to follow new harvest reporting and catch labeling requirements. Electronic forms will be available on the Puget Sound commercial crabbing website to complete the required reports.

Labeling

All crab removed from a vessel must be stored in containers labeled with the following information.

    1. date of harvest,
    2. an estimate of pounds of crab contained,
    3. 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 within 36 hours of offloading, the container must also be labeled with the associated commercial fish and shellfish transportation ticket number.

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 within 36 hours of harvest or submit a report of crab retained for delivery at a future date to the Department. Reports must be received within 36 hours of harvest. Reports must be made online on the Puget Sound commercial crab reporting website or by e-mail at crab.report@dfw.wa.gov and must contain all of the following information:

    1. harvester name,
    2. WDFW issued vessel ID,
    3. Puget Sound commercial license number,
    4. date of harvest,
    5. an estimate of pounds of harvest retained by Crab Management Region or Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area, and  
    6. a commercial fish and shellfish transportation ticket number.    

 

Stored Crab Sale Report

The Department is also requiring harvesters to report the delivery of crab to an original receiver that was previously retained off-vessel by 10:00 a.m. the day following the delivery. The sale of stored crab can be reported online on the Puget Sound commercial crab reporting website or by e-mail at crab.report@dfw.wa.gov and must contain all of the following information:

  1. vessel name,
  2. harvester name,
  3. Puget Sound commercial license number,
  4. date of delivery,
  5. dealer name
  6. commercial shellfish transportation ticket number(s) delivered, and
  7. fish receiving ticket number(s) corresponding to landing.

 

An example scenario: A fisher may have harvested 400 pounds from Region 1 on a single day and they intend to retain the catch for 3 days prior to making a sale. When the crab are removed from the vessel, each container that holds that days catch must be labelled with the date of harvest, number of pounds in the container, and the harvest region. Because the crab will be stored for 3 days, a transportation ticket would also be filled out and each container labeled with the transportation ticket associated with that day’s catch. Within 36 hours of removing the crab from the vessel, the fisher would also need to report the stored crab associated with that transportation ticket to the Department via the Puget Sound commercial crab reporting website. When the stored crab are finally delivered, the fisher then reports the sale those crab on the Puget Sound commercial crabbing website, providing the transportation ticket number and Fish Receiving Ticket number along with the harvester and dealer information. A single delivery may include catch held from multiple days and require reporting of multiple transportation tickets.

The electronic reporting form for retention and sale of stored crab can be accessed at the link below.

 

Stored Crab Electronic Reporting Form

If you plan to store crab more than 36 hours during the 2021-2022 season and need a book of transportation tickets, please contact Brad Speidel at (253) 263-5560. Please sure to provide your name and complete mailing address.

 

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

Quick Reports

Effective 8:00 a.m., October 7, 2021, until further notice, it is unlawful for any wholesale dealer acting in the capacity of an original receiver of Dungeness crab landed by WDFW licensed Puget Sound commercial crab harvesters to fail to report to the department the previous day’s purchases by 10:00 a.m. the day following the purchase. Reports must be made by online at on the Puget Sound commercial crab reporting website, by fax to (360) 302-3031, or by e-mail at crab.report@dfw.wa.gov. Reports must include all of the following:

    1. dealer name,
    2. dealer license number, 
    3. dealer phone number,
    4. date of delivery of crab to the original receiver, and
    5. the total number of pounds of crab caught by non-treaty fishers by Crab Management Region or Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area
  • WDFW crab managers encourage all buyers to make use of the electronic reporting form available on the Puget Sound commercial crabbing website. Easy access to the electronic Quick Reporting form can be accessed by scanning the code below.

Electronic Dealing Quick Reporting Form

  • For your convenience, an optional FAX reporting form has been included in this packet. An electronic version of this form is available on request. The fish receiving ticket-reporting requirement of WAC 220-352-340 remains in effect.
  • Dealers/Buyers can NOT leave voice messages for catch reports.
  • 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.

 

Electronic Fish Tickets – WA-Tix

In Puget Sound, electronic fish tickets will not be required for the 2021/2022 crab season opening in October. The implementation date for this rule is January 1, 2022. However, for the remaining 2021/2022 Puget Sound State commercial crab season, electronic tickets will be rolled out on a voluntary basis. Those dealers that decide to transition to the electronic fish ticket system in January will not be required to submit Quick Reports. Following the full transition to mandatory electronic fish tickets, Quick Reports will no longer be required for any Puget Sound crab or shrimp fisheries.

WDFW is currently working on developing an electronic fish receiving ticket application (WA-Tix) for mobile devices (Android, iOS) and desktop computers that will be available to commercial buyers purchasing Puget Sound crab or shrimp beginning January 1, 2022. Dealers already using the PSMFC e-tix application can continue to use it. Puget Sound crab dealers can sign up to receive information and updates on the WA-Tix application and the roll-out of electronic fish tickets by scanning the QR code below.

            WA-Tix Dealer Information Survey

Complete regulations and landings information that pertain to the 2020-21 Puget Sound commercial crab fishery can be found on the WDFW web site. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/crab/pugetsound/

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.

Sincerely,

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

cc:       Aaron Dufault, Puget Sound Shellfish Manager                                                                                   

            WDFW Enforcement
 

See also:

Download the 2021/2022 Puget Sound Commercial Crab Packet as a PDF