The sport spot shrimp fishery in south-central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 11) will reopen 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on May 20, and the Discovery Bay Shrimp District will be open 7 a.m.-3 p. m. on May 20 and May 22.
Here is a rundown on how other areas did during the spot shrimp seasons by state Fish and Wildlife biologist Mark O’Toole (Note: The catch per boat numbers are averages, and that the “average” boat has just over three pots and three people on board):
Has been open two days this season, and there was no fishing since 2005 due to low abundance. So far, fishing effort has been fairly low, only 186 buoys counted so far. Catch rates have been OK, about 144 prawns/boat, but the size is very poor at 18.7 count/pound.
A lot of the prawns caught were males, many of which would have been sublegal in the old days before the 1-inch mesh rule, which is a little concerning. Anyhow, the current catch estimate is 456 pounds, 1,544 pounds under the quota.
Reopens May 20 and May 22. Not sure about reopening after that, needs discussion, we were a little on the fence about opening this year to begin with because of the relative lack of larger females in the preseason test fishery catches, but decided to try opening it at least for a few days to see what would show up in the fishery.
San Juan Islands (Marine Catch Area 7)
Spot shrimp fishery is still going on. Effort has been up from last year, catch rates are down slightly from last year, still crunching the data from last week. Closed this week (due to poor tides) and will be open May 21-22. Not sure about any additional days beyond that until we see happens then.
Ports Susan and Gardner (8)
Has been open two days, effort up from last year, counted 2,226 buoys, last year after two days the count was 1,885 buoys. Catch rates similar — 187 prawns/boat versus188 last year. Count/pound was 11.5. Current catch estimate is 11,398 pounds, only two pounds under the recreational share, will not reopen (Note: Last year we were WAY over after a three day fishery).
Northern Puget Sound-Admiralty Inlet (9)
Has been open two days. Effort similar to last year, buoy count was 811 this year versus 849 last year. Catches rates were lower — 171 prawns/boat versus 211 last year. Count/pound was 13.1. Current catch estimate is 3,268 pounds, 632 pounds under recreational share, and will not reopen.
Central Puget Sound (10)
Has been open two days. Effort up from last year, buoy count was 695 this year versus 553 last year. Catches rates were slightly lower — 194 prawns/boat vs. 214 last year. Count/pound was 13.4. Current catch estimate is 3,100 pounds, 700 pounds over recreational share, and will not reopen.
Elliott Bay (10)
Has been open two days. Effort down from last year, buoy count was 583 this year versus 695 last year. Catch rates were similar — 157 prawns/boat versus 163 last year. Count/pound was 11.4. Current catch estimate is 2,482 pounds, 218 pounds under recreational share, and will not reopen.
South-central Puget Sound (11)
Open one day. Effort down from last year, buoy count was 292 this year versus 478 last year. Catches rates were way down – only 56 prawns/boat versus 170 last year. Count/pound was 13.8. Current catch estimate is 403 pounds, 1,149 pounds under recreational share, and will reopen next May 20.
The big tides on the opener really seemed to affect the fishing success in Area 11, the tides will be better on next week’s open day, and hopefully fishing will be better as well (the preseason test fishing was decent – so we will see next week if the problem was the current).
Hood Canal (12)
Ended May 12, catch and effort up over last year. After three days have 4,098 total boats; 254 prawns/boat; 15.4 count/pound; 67,781 pounds catch (last year after three days; 3,606 boats, 229 prawns/boat; 14.3; and 57,468). Fishing has been really good this year, last Wednesday, May 5 had 85 percent of the boats limited, which may be a record. May 12 was the last day, as we are going to be very close to the quota of 85,000 pounds, my guess is about 2,000 pounds shy, and not enough for another day.