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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

December 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Fisheries Commission votes to approve a more liberal spot shrimp policy for sport anglers

SpotShrimpRyan1.jpg

The state Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Saturday on the Puget Sound spot shrimp policy giving the sport anglers 70 percent of the allocation and 30 percent to the nontribal commercial fishermen.

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 65.

The spot shrimp fisheries are split into six regions.

Under the new allocation the San Juan Islands would be open 32 days (compared to the current six days) with 80 percent of the catch going to the sport anglers.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca will be open 99 days with 22 pecent of spot shrimp catch.

All the spot shrimp catch allocation will go to sport anglers in eastern side of Whidbey Island up into Saratoga Pass and northern and central Puget Sound. That would be an increase of four days on the water compared to the current two days in northern Puget Sound.

Central Puget Sound would go from two to four days on the water; south-central Puget Sound would go from two to five; and southern Puget Sound would get a boost from two to five.

Hood Canal would remain status quo with 100 percent of the catch going to sport.

There are 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, and the economic value is more than $2-million per year.

(Photo by Ryan Nakata)

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