State Fish and Wildlife announced the winter crabbing seasons, and many areas will be open as soon as this Saturday, Oct. 8.
“There is good news and bad news in the announcement,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association in Seattle and state Fish and Wildlife sport fishing advisory board member.
“For people north of Seattle clearly they will be crabbing all during the fall and winter, and that is good news,” Floor said. “For those in Hood Canal and Seattle unfortunately they are done for the year.”
“For those of us in South Puget Sound this newly adopted season comes as a surprise to us, but the numbers are the numbers, and we certainly wouldn’t argue with conservation or allocation,” Floor said.
Areas reopening to sport crabbing on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8 a.m. include Neah Bay (Marine Catch Area 4); Sekiu (5); eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (6); San Juan Islands (7); Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay (8-1); Port Susan and Port Gardner); and a portion of northern Puget Sound (9) north of a line that extends from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff. All these areas will remain open daily until Dec. 31.
South central Puget Sound (11) and South Puget Sound (13) will reopen for sport crabbing at 8 a.m. on Nov. 21 and remain open daily until Dec. 31.
Crabbing will not reopen this year in central Puget Sound (10) and Hood Canal (12), and the portion of northern Puget Sound (9) south of line that extends from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff.
The annual quotas in those areas were reached during the summer fishery, said Rich Childers, a state Fish and Wildlife crab policy manager.
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.
All crab caught in the late-season fishery should be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid until Dec. 31. Winter cards are available at license vendors across the state. Those catch reports are due to state Fish and Wildlife by Feb. 1.
Additional information is available on the state Fish and Wildlife website.
(Photo taken by Seattle Times staff photographers)