Don Velasquez 425-775-1311, ext. 112; Katelyn Bosley 360-302-3030, ext. 319
OLYMPIA – Puget Sound will open for recreational spot shrimp fishing beginning May 19, shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Coordinating and finalizing dates last year was very challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded; ultimately, participation was notably higher than in past seasons, said Don Velasquez, a shellfish biologist for WDFW.
“The dates selected for the 2021 season reflect anticipated high levels of participation similar to 2020,” Velasquez said. “With our test surveys indicating healthy populations across most marine areas, we’re pleased to offer a good mix of opportunity throughout Puget Sound this year.”
WDFW is asking shrimp fishers to follow responsible recreation guidelines to provide for a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
“Plan appropriately for the weather conditions, make sure your vessel and equipment are functioning properly, and exercise patience and courtesy at boat ramps and launches," said Velasquez. “Shrimp fishers also need to keep clear of ferry terminals and routes, particularly in Elliott Bay and at Mukilteo.”
Fishers should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for wearing masks and social distancing in shared public spaces and staying home if they feel sick. Fishers should also check for potential COVID-related closures and restrictions at access sites before heading out.
Of note, the Skokomish Park at Potlatch (also known as “Saltwater Park”) Hood Canal boat launch and associated facilities, located just north of Potlatch State Park in southern Hood Canal, is currently closed until further notice, and a date for reopening has not been announced.
In all areas of Puget Sound, fishers are limited to 80 shrimp per day on open days in May. Fishers may keep dock, coonstripe, and pink shrimp caught incidentally while fishing for spot shrimp, but they count toward the 80-shrimp limit. Beginning June 1, the daily limit is 10 pounds of all shrimp with a maximum of 80 spot shrimp. Seasons for non-spot shrimping (dock, coonstripe, and pink shrimp only) will begin later this year and will be announced separately.
A valid 2021-22 combination license, shellfish license, or Fish Washington license is required to participate in all shrimp fisheries. More information on recreational shrimp seasons, and a description of the marine areas, is available on WDFW's recreational shrimp fishing website.
2021 Puget Sound recreational spot shrimp seasons are as follows:
- Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line: Remains closed until further notice.
- Marine Area 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca): Open daily from May 19 through September 15, daylight hours.
- Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open May 19-22, June 2-5, and June 16-19. Daylight hours.
- Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 19 and May 22.
- Marine Area 7 South (Iceberg Point, Point Colville, Biz Point, Salmon Bank): Open May 19-22 and June 2-5. Daylight hours.
- Marine Area 7 East (northern Rosario Strait, Bellingham Bay, Sucia and Matia islands, Strait of Georgia): Open May 19-22, June 2-5, and June 16-19. Daylight hours.
- Marine Area 7 West (San Juan Channel, Speiden Channel, Stuart and Waldron islands): Open May 19-22, June 2-5, and June 16-19. Daylight hours.
- Marine Areas 8-1 (Saratoga Passage, Deception Pass) and 8-2 (Port Susan, Port Gardner, Everett): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 19.
- Marine Area 9 (Edmonds, Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 19.
- Marine Area 10 (Elliott Bay): Open 3 hours only from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on May 19 (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 east of a line from West Point to Alki Point).
- Marine Area 10 (outside Elliott Bay): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 19 (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 west of a line from West Point to Alki Point, which includes the Bainbridge Island shrimp fishing grounds).
- Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 19.
- Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 19, May 22, June 2, June 5, and June 16. Please note that the Skokomish Park at Potlatch (“Saltwater Park”) Hood Canal boat launch is currently closed until further notice.
- Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound, Carr Inlet): Closed for spot shrimp harvest due to low abundance.
Additional dates and times may be announced if enough quota remains after the initial fishing days are complete.
WDFW reminds shrimpers that traps can be set one hour before official sunrise during any open period in the marine areas without specified harvest hours. This includes Marine Areas 5, 6 (except for the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), 7 East, 7 South, and 7 West. Traps must be removed from the water in these same areas by one hour after sunset at the end of an open period. The start and end times for all other areas are listed above.
Shrimp anglers are reminded to follow Be Whale Wise practices to help protect endangered Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW). Recreational vessels must stay at least 300 yards from SRKWs and at least 400 yards out of their path or behind the whales. Vessels must also reduce their speed to seven knots within a half-mile of a Southern Resident killer whale. Anglers are also encouraged to watch for the Whale Warning Flag, an optional tool from the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee, that lets others know that there might be whales nearby. If you see the flag, slow down and follow guidelines. For more details about steps anglers can take to keep the whales – and themselves – safe, visit BeWhaleWise.org.
Anglers can help protect natural resources by reporting any violations to the shrimp, boating safety, or Be Whale Wise regulations to WDFW Enforcement at 877-933-9847.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities.