WDFW announces Puget Sound recreational crab seasons for the summer

Date
Contact

Don Velasquez, (425) 775-1311, ext. 112, Jason Wettstein, 360-704-0258

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

Crab seasons are scheduled to open as follows:

Young person measuring crab catch
Andy Walgamott
  • 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 - Sept. 6, Thursdays - Mondays.
  • Marine Area 7 South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham): Open July 15 - Sept. 30, Thursdays-Mondays.
  • Marine Area 7 North (Gulf of Georgia): Open Aug. 19 - Sept. 30, Thursdays – Mondays.
  • Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open July 11 - Sept. 6. Sundays/Mondays only.
  • Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island): Open July 11 - August 30. Sundays/Mondays only.
  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point: Open July 1 - Sept. 6, Thursdays-Mondays.

The following areas are 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).

“We expect good crabbing this year in several areas of Puget Sound," said Don Velasquez, WDFW crustacean biologist. "Still, some areas with continued low abundance will have a limited season or remain closed this year to promote population growth,” he added.  

dad, seven year old daughter and crabs caught
David Sandana

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

The daily limit throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ 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.

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 crabs in Puget Sound. Completed summer catch record cards, regardless of whether any crabs are caught, are due to the Department by October 1, 2021.

“Most crab fishers are returning their catch record cards and helping us better understand and manage this fishery. However, we are eager to work with fishers to increase reporting compliance. Otherwise we will have a much harder time determining levels of sustainable catch, which may result in fewer fishing opportunities over time,” said Velasquez. “We need those catch record cards back whether or not any crabs were caught.”

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 and wildlife 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.