Don Velasquez 425-775-1311, ext. 112; Jason Wettstein, 360-902-2254
OLYMPIA – Some areas in Puget Sound are scheduled to open for recreational spot shrimp fishing on May 28, while other areas within central Puget Sound and Hood Canal are scheduled to open June 11 under seasons announced today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The process of finalizing dates this year has taken longer than usual due to COVID-19 related challenges and public health considerations, said Don Velasquez, a shellfish biologist for WDFW.
“It took a lot of coordination, but we are happy to have found a way to work with communities to offer shrimp fishing and the peace of mind that comes with a day outside on the water,” said Velasquez.
The dates approved reflect a conscious effort to offer opportunities to harvest while still abiding by public health recommendations, such as keeping participants distributed, allowing physical distancing, limiting travel and discouraging overnight stays, he added.
WDFW is asking for cooperation from shrimp fishers to reduce risk. “Patience and courtesy will be needed at boat ramps and launches," said Velasquez. "Shrimp fishers should allow extra time for launching their boats to adhere to health authorities’ advice for physical distancing."
All shrimp -- including spot, dock, coonstripe, and pink shrimp -- can be kept as part of the daily limit. However, because only larger mesh (1 inch) traps are allowed during these seasons, most harvest will be spot shrimp, said Velasquez. Also known as prawns, spot shrimp are the largest shrimp in Puget Sound and may grow up to nine inches in length.
2020 Puget Sound recreational spot shrimp seasons are as follows:
- Marine Area 4 remains closed
- Marine Area 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca): Open daily beginning May 28, daylight hours. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is met.
- Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open May 28, June 1-13 (daily), and then Thursdays through Sundays each week beginning June 18 until quota is met. Daylight hours.
- Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 11, 15 and 28.
- Marine Area 7 South (Iceberg Point, Point Colville, Biz Point, Salmon Bank): Open May 28 and June 1, 11, 15, 26, 28 and 30. Daylight hours.
- Marine Area 7 East (northern Rosario Strait, Bellingham Bay, Sucia and Matia islands, Strait of Georgia): Open May 28 and June 1, 11, 15, 26, 28 and 30. Daylight hours.
- Marine Area 7 West (San Juan Channel, Speiden Channel, Stuart and Waldron islands): Open May 28, June 1-13 (daily), and then Thursdays through Sundays each week beginning June 18 until quota is met. Daylight hours.
- Marine Areas 8-1 (Saratoga Passage, Deception Pass) and 8-2 (Port Susan, Port Gardner, Everett): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11.
- Marine Area 9 (Edmonds, Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11.
- Marine Area 10 (Elliott Bay): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11 (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 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on June 11 (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 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11.
- Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11, 15, 26, 28 and July 15, 28.
- Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound, Carr Inlet): Closed for spot shrimp harvest this season due to low abundance.
**UPDATE June 8: Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 and community health risk, the Skokomish Tribe has decided to delay opening the Skokomish Park at Potlatch (aka “Saltwater Park”) Hood Canal boat launch. This boat launch and associated facilities, located just north of Potlatch State Park in southern Hood Canal, will remain closed until further notice; a date has not been announced. Hood Canal recreational shrimp fishers will need to seek an alternative access site until further notice.
Additional dates and times may be announced if enough quota remains after the initial fishing days listed above.
In all areas of Puget Sound fishers are limited to 80 shrimp a day (if open) during the month of May. Beginning June 1, the daily limit is 10 pounds of all shrimp with a maximum of 80 spot shrimp.
A valid 2020-21 combination license, shellfish license, or Fish Washington license is required to participate in the fishery.
Velasquez reminds shrimpers that traps can be set one hour before official sunrise during any open period in the marine areas without specified harvest hours. These include marine areas 5, 6 (except for the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), 7 East, 7 South, and 7 West.
The pots 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.
More information on recreational shrimp seasons, and a description of the marine areas, is available on WDFW's recreational shrimp fishing website.
Seasons for non-spot shrimping (dock, coonstripe, and pink shrimp only) will begin later this year and will be announced separately.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.