Category: Commercial Fishing / Shellfishing
Published: February 2016
Fishery Objectives and Preseason Planning
During and after the 2014 season, WDFW received numerous requests from processors and diggers to move the season opening date up by one month to April 1. Traditionally the fishery has been a bait fishery for Dungeness crab but in recent years the percentage being utilized for the fresh market has been slowly increasing. The reasoning for this change in opening dates was to add more value to the fishery by allowing more opportunity to dig clams while they are in prime condition before spawning.
The public meeting usually scheduled in late March with the commercial harvesters to discuss pertinent information for the upcoming season was held one month earlier, on February 12, 2105. The purpose of this meeting was to gather additional input from harvesters and buyers on a proposal to change the season opening date from May 1 to April 1.
Three season options were considered, keeping the current opening date of May 1, an April 15 opener, or an April 1 opening. A poll of those in attendance showed zero support for the May 1 opening date, 43% supported the April 15 date and 57% supported the April 1 opening.
On March 9, 2015 WDFW announced the fishery would open on April 1, 2015 (pending biotoxin results) and would run just over 9 weeks, ending on June 7, 2015. An extra week (June 1-7) was added upfront to â€�"mitigateâ€ for the poorer (holdup) tides at the beginning of April.