10/28/2016 – John Snyder – NWFN
OLYMPIA – The recreational Dungeness crab fishery in Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) will close about six weeks early due to low numbers of crab in the area, state shellfish managers said today.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) also announced that marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) and 13 (south Sound) will remain closed for the winter crabbing season. Harvest numbers from the summer crab fishery in both areas indicate sport crabbers have reached their quota for the year, said Rich Childers, shellfish manager for WDFW.
“We’re taking these steps to protect crab populations in all three marine areas,” Childers said.
The Marine Area 10 crab fishery will close at 6 p.m., Nov. 15. WDFW previously planned to close the area Dec. 31, but is closing it early due to low crab abundance.
Currently, eight marine areas remain open seven days a week through Dec. 31: marine areas 4 (Neah Bay, east of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet, Port Gamble, and Port Ludlow), and 12 (Hood Canal).
The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. Additional information is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/
All Dungeness crab caught in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid through Dec. 31. Winter cards are available at license vendors across the state.
Winter catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 1, 2017. For more information on catch record cards, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/