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May 31, 2016
Contact: Don Velasquez, (425) 775-1311, ext. 112

Five areas of Puget Sound opening in June
for recreational crabbing

OLYMPIA – Five areas of Puget Sound will open for summer recreational crab-fishing seasons in June, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

State and tribal fishery managers concur that legal-size Dungeness crab will reach hard-shell condition by the June opening dates, allowing those areas to open a month earlier than most other crab fisheries in Puget Sound.

Areas scheduled to open in June include:

  • Marine Area 13 (south Puget Sound): Open 6 a.m. June 2 through Sept. 5. Crabbing will be allowed Thursdays through Mondays each week; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Marine Areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu) and 12 (Hood Canal): Open 6 a.m. June 16 through Sept. 5. Crabbing will be allowed Thursdays through Mondays each week; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • A portion of Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet): Open a.m. June 16 through Sept. 5 in waters north of the Hood Canal Bridge to a line connecting Foulweather Bluff to Olele Point. Crabbing will be allowed Thursdays through Mondays each week; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Most other areas of the Sound will open for recreational crab fishing in July and August, although test fisheries are scheduled in coming weeks to determine whether those fisheries can open sooner, said Rich Childers, WDFW shellfish policy lead.

"We'll send out a schedule for crab fisheries throughout Puget Sound in the coming weeks, but there was no good reason to hold off on these areas," Childers said. "Sport crabbers in these areas have fallen short of reaching their catch quota in recent years, so we can afford to give them more time to fish during the upcoming season."

Childers noted that test fisheries in Hood Canal continue to show that crab are far more abundant north of Ayock Point than in the southern end of the canal.

"We will continue to monitor the crab population throughout the canal, but current indications are that crabbing will be much better in the north end," he said.

All areas open for crab fishing are posted on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/. The website includes details on fishing regulations, as well as an educational video on crabbing.

The daily limit for crab fishers throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishers may keep six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.

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 shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.

Childers reminds Puget Sound crabbers that they are required to record their harvest of Dungeness crab on their catch record cards immediately after retaining crab. Separate catch record cards are issued for the summer and winter seasons.

Catch record cards are not required to fish for Dungeness crab in the Columbia River or on the Washington coast.