Recreational crabbing to open July 1 for many Puget Sound marine areas

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Contact

Don Velasquez, 425-775-1311, ext. 112
Public Affairs contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045

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Debbie Galbraith

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced Puget Sound summer crab-fishing seasons, which will get underway July 1 in many marine areas.

“Crabbing seasons should be similar to recent years around most of Puget Sound," said Don Velasquez, WDFW crustacean biologist. "Still, some areas with continued low abundance will see limited seasons or remain closed this year to promote Dungeness population recovery.”

This summer’s crab seasons are scheduled to open as follows:

  • Marine Areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), and 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet): Open July 1 through Sept. 5, Thursdays through Mondays only.
  • Marine Area 7 South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham): Open July 14 through Sept. 30, Thursdays through Mondays only.
  • Marine Area 7 North (Gulf of Georgia): Open Aug. 18 through Sept. 30, Thursdays through Mondays only.
  • Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open July 3 through Sept. 5, Sundays and Mondays only.
  • Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island): Open July 3 through August 30, Sundays and Mondays only.
  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point: Open July 1 through Sept. 5, Thursdays through Mondays only.

The following areas will remain closed this season to allow weak Dungeness crab populations to increase:

  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) south of a line projected true east from Ayock Point. 
  • Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound).

Summer seasons for the upcoming fishery are also posted on WDFW's crab-fishing  webpage.

The daily limit throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches. Fishers may also keep six red rock crab of either sex per day in open areas, provided the crab are in hard-shell condition and measure at least 5 inches carapace width.

Crab fishers may not set or pull shellfish gear from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise. All traps must be out of the water on days when the fishery is closed.

Puget Sound crabbers are required to record their harvest of Dungeness crab on their catch record cards immediately after retaining the crab and before re-deploying the trap. Separate catch record cards are issued for the summer and winter seasons.

Catch record card information is crucial to managing Dungeness crab in Puget Sound. Completed summer catch record cards, regardless of whether any crab are caught, must be submitted to WDFW by Oct. 1, 2022.

“It is important that crabbers return their catch record cards at the end of the season in order to help us better understand and manage this fishery” said Velasquez. “Only about 50 percent of crabbers record their catch at the end of the season, and this information is critical for setting future seasons. We need those catch record cards returned or reported online-- whether or not you caught any crab -- to determine levels of sustainable catch and set harvest seasons,” said Velasquez.

Catch record cards are not required to fish for Dungeness crab in the Columbia River or on the Washington coast, where crabbing is open year-round.

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.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.