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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

December 9, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Fisheries Commission to decide on Puget Sound spot shrimp fisheries later this week

SpotShrimpRyan2.jpg

The state Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting is Friday and Saturday, and one key topic will be the decision on new spot shrimp fishery management for sport and nontribal commercial fishermen.

The Commission is looking at four options that are basically a way to rebalance the catches between the two parties.

The current shrimp-fishery allocations have been in place since 2003, and in some marine areas the annual nontribal commercial catch has increased dramatically while the sport fishery has dwindled.

Sport shrimpers in south-central Puget Sound had just two days on the water last season compared to 51 in 2003, and the San Juan Island region was open six days, down from compared to 65.

The option made by the sport-fishing advisory board would see an allocation of 75percent and a commercial harvest of 25 percent.

Based on last year’s catches, that would mean a total of 194,300 pounds to sport and 66,200 to commercial.

The proposal would also keep the San Juan Islands open 36 days instead of the current six.

Under the current option, the San Juan Islands are open six days, but with the proposed sport option it would increase to 36 days.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca would grow from 68 days to 136; northern Puget Sound would rise slightly from two to three; central and south-central Puget Sound would go from two to four; and southern Puget Sound would get a boost from two to five.

Hood Canal would remain status quo. Discovery Bay would stay at four days.

Under current rules, the sport fishery in San Juan Islands (Region 1) is entitled to 15 percent of annual quota; northern Puget Sound (2) is 60 percent; Strait of Juan de Fuca (3) is 15 percent; central and south-central Puget Sound (4) is 60 percent; Hood Canal (5) is 100 percent; and southern Puget Sound (6) is 40 percent.

The commission has proposed a sport-allocation option of 65 percent to sport and 35 percent to commercial fisheries, while the commercial advisory group made a recommendation of 56 percent to sport and 44 percent to commercial fisheries.

The fourth option is for the seasons to remain a 50-50 percent combined split between the two parties.

There are a total of 18 commercial licenses, which are owned by 16 fishermen. Of those, all but two fish in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands.

The sport shrimp fishery averaged about 33,000 trips annually since 2009.

To view the shrimp management policy and options, go to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission website.

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Nakata)

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